NYPD Makes Largest Gun Bust in History

Smugglers busted carrying 254 guns via buses from Carolinas

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 19, 2013 4:01 PM CDT

(Newser) – The NYPD has made its largest gun bust in recent memory, seizing 254 firearms in a 10-month operation. The guns were smuggled from North and South Carolina into New York City by two gunrunners, who hid the weapons in luggage on discount buses, then purchased by an undercover cop pretending to be a gun broker across a number of transactions, the AP reports. The alleged smugglers, Walter Walker, 29, and Earl Campbell, 24, and 17 others—including Matthew Best, an up-and-coming rapper from Brooklyn—have been arrested. Best's involvement is an interesting one: Authorities stumbled on the gun smuggling operation during a drug investigation, after the rapper posted Instagram photos of handguns and cash. Turns out, Best was helping Walker sell his guns, the New York Post reports.

Walker and Campbell bought the guns both on the black market and through gun dealers, and would then stuff a dozen or more into bags and courier them on cheap Chinatown-based bus services, the AP reports. On one occasion, authorities say, Campbell brought along his girlfriend, who carried a deconstructed assault rifle in her zebra-striped suitcase. She then tried to reassemble the gun by looking up a YouTube instructional video on her phone, but couldn't put it back together. The undercover officer bought it for $1,100 anyway.

A graphic display presented at a news conference shows the 19 people arrested in New York, North Carolina and South Carolina as the result of a 10-month investigation into gun smuggling.
A graphic display presented at a news conference shows the 19 people arrested in New York, North Carolina and South Carolina as the result of a 10-month investigation into gun smuggling.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly looks at some of the guns seized as part of the gun smuggling operation.
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly looks at some of the guns seized as part of the gun smuggling operation.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, center, and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, left, announce the arrest of 19 people and seizure of 254 guns.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, center, and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, left, announce the arrest of 19 people and seizure of 254 guns.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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