One of the 19 people indicted on charges stemming from the largest gun bust in New York City’s history was concerned about the city’s stop and frisk policy while allegedly trying to funnel firearms from South Carolina, authorities said Monday.
Earl Campbell of Rock Hill, S.C., who also apparently had a place in Brownsville, Brooklyn, was allegedly caught on a wiretap fretting about how the stop and frisk policy would hinder his plan to transport guns from South Carolina. The conversation between Campbell and one of his alleged gun suppliers, Larick Michaux, occurred in June and was cited by a special narcotics assistant district attorney in New York during bail arguments for Michaux held a few days ago, according to the New York Police Department.
Michaux allegedly asked Campbell if he was down South or in New York.
"Yeah, I'm in Charlotte now. I, I can't leave until you come 'cause I can't take them…to my house, to my side of town 'cause I'm, umm, I'm in Brownsville. So we got, like, we got like, umm, uh, whatchamacallit, stop and frisk,” Campbell responded, according to the NYPD.
New York’s stop and frisk policy, recently ruled illegal by a federal judge (the city plans to appeal the ruling), has been seen as controversial by critics who say it unfairly targets blacks and Hispanics and violates civil rights. The policy has been one of the main issues debated in the NYC mayoral race.
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Campbell and Michaux were among 19 people charged in a 552-count indictment alleging that 208 illegal guns worth a collective $160,000 were sold in New York City over the past year. The guns seized amounted to the largest bust in New York City history.
Campbell allegedly personally transported the guns from South Carolina to the city. Another defendant, Walter Walker of Sanford, N.C., allegedly funneled firearms from North Carolina to New York City, according to the NYPD. Campbell and Walker “operated independently of one another, but utilized similar methods” to carry out the illegal operations, the department claimed. They both used Brooklyn-based Omole Adedji as their broker, with Adedji negotiating sales to prospective gun buyers in New York, the NYPD alleged.
Stopping the flow of illegal guns into New York City has been among Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s highest priorities. The billionaire mayor, who founded the advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said the firearms bust helped prevent deaths from gun violence.
“New York is the safest big city in the nation, but year after year, illegal guns flow into our city from states that don’t have common-sense laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “There is no doubt that the seizure of these guns -- the largest bust in the city’s history -- has saved lives. For that reason, every New Yorker, in every part of our city, owes a debt of thanks to all those involved in this investigation.”