Eleven Defendants Charged with Conspiring to Sell 43 Pistols, Assault Rifles, Revolvers, and Ammunition
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill today announced the indictment of a Washington Heights-based firearm ring, including ringleader BIENVENIDO LIRIANO, 32, and OMAR AHMAD, 30, NELSON BROWN, 54, DAQUAN BRYANT, 20, KEANDRE FRAZIER, 24, BILLY PANDIELLO, 35, MISAEL REYNOSO, 26, YAKEEM SPANN, 28, TE’ARA WALLEY, 18, and DARNELL WYNT, 30, for selling 43 firearms and corresponding ammunition to an undercover NYPD detective posing as a firearms dealer. The defendants are all charged in a 96-count New York State Supreme Court indictment with Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, as well as various counts of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First, Second, and Third Degrees, and other related charges.
“In the safest borough of the safest big city in America, we’re still losing New Yorkers to gun violence,” said District Attorney Vance. “Since I formed our Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit in 2010, our proactive gun trafficking investigations have yielded 36 indictments against 94 traffickers, removing more than 1,800 illegal guns from our streets. In addition to strong prosecutions, we are protecting and expanding New York’s strong gun laws through Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, and engaging community members where they are through education programs, our annual Art of Healing festival, and our Gun Violence Prevention Fellowship. We will not rest until the number of New Yorkers killed by guns is zero. I thank Commissioner O’Neill and the brave detectives of the Firearms Investigation Unit for their strong collaboration to keep illegal guns out of New York City.”
“The firearms takedown we’re announcing today – more than 40 guns, including 33 semiautomatic pistols, several assault weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition – is one of the ways we’re confronting, head-on, our city’s increase in shootings,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “To sustain record-low levels of crime in New York City, and to further reduce violence and disorder, we must hold illicit gun dealers responsible for their actions and do all we can to remove every illegal gun from our streets. I commend our brave NYPD detective in this case, and thank the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for its efforts to successfully prosecute and secure appropriate prison sentences for the suspects involved.”
According to the indictment and documents filed in court, beginning on October 9, 2018, LIRIANO and his codefendants – many of whom are associated with the Trinitarios street gang – sold 43 firearms, including 33 semi-automatic pistols, 6 revolvers, and 4 assault rifles, as well as 353 rounds of corresponding ammunition, to an undercover NYPD detective posing as a firearms dealer. The sales took place in or around the undercover detective’s vehicle over 27 separate transactions, with prices ranging from $700 to $2,100 per firearm.
Typically, LIRIANO coordinated sales over the phone and then met with the undercover detective in the vicinity of West 161st Street and Broadway. The other defendants then helped supply LIRIANO with the firearms, most of which were local “street guns,” and many joined LIRIANO when selling to the undercover. FRAZIER trafficked at least 7 guns from South Carolina, where he resides. Additionally, WYNT, who supplied a total of 8 operable firearms, frequently traveled back and forth between New York City and South Carolina.
The investigation was conducted jointly by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit (VCEU) and the NYPD’s Firearms Investigation Unit. VCEU was created in 2010 by District Attorney Vance to lead the efforts of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in combatting gun and gang violence, with an enhanced focus on illegal firearms trafficking within New York City. Since its formation, VCEU has brought 36 indictments against 94 gun traffickers operating between New York City and states including Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, leading to the removal of more than 1,800 illegal guns from New York City streets.
Assistant D.A. Rebecca Dunnan is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Christopher Prevost, Chief of VCEU, as well as Executive Assistant District Attorney John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Investigative Analysts Jeffrey Meehan and Michael Fernandes assisted in the investigation.
District Attorney Vance thanked Police Commissioner O’Neill, as well as Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea, Chief James Essig, Inspector Richard Green, Inspector Brian Gill, Captain Jonathan Korabel, Lieutenant Ronald Bolte, Sergeants Brian O’Hanlon and Gregory Pekera, and especially, Detective Harish Mansharamani and the undercover detectives of the Firearms Investigation Unit.
 The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court, including the indictments, and statements made on the record in court.