DA Vance: Convicted Firearms Dealer Sentenced to 17 ½ Years in State Prison for Illegally Selling 13 Guns to Undercover Officers

October 28, 2014

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of PAUL LEE, a/k/a “Gangsta,” 25, to 17 ½ years in state prison, plus five years post-release supervision, for the sale of more than a dozen illegal firearms to undercover officers. On August 19, 2014, LEE pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to felony charges of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree.

“We are all too aware of the devastation that illegal firearms are causing in our communities – not just in Manhattan, but across the city, the state, and the entire country,” said District Attorney Vance. “When guns are sold illegally, they bypass the checks-and-balances put in place by state and federal governments, and can fall into the hands of young people, gang members, individuals with criminal records and the mentally ill, circumstances that would otherwise bar them from ownership. At last week’s Prosecutors Against Gun Violence summit in Atlanta, I had the opportunity to share ideas and strategies for addressing this national problem with prosecuting attorneys from two dozen major cities across the United States. In order to stop tragic incidents of gun violence, it is the duty of those of us in law enforcement to prevent illegal sales, and today’s sentencing does just that. I would like to thank Commissioner Bratton and the NYPD for their ongoing partnership, as well as the dedicated team of prosecutors in my Office’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit for working together to make our city safer.”
According to court documents and the defendant’s guilty plea, from approximately May 2013 to December 2013, LEE sold 13 operable guns to an undercover police detective who was posing as a Manhattan-based gun dealer. The weapons, which LEE sold for $550 to $900 per gun, included a sawed-off shotgun and an AP-9 assault weapon. The sales occurred either in East Harlem or near Co-op City in the Bronx, with some of the sales occurring in broad daylight. The investigations were conducted jointly by the Manhattan DA’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit (VCEU) and the NYPD’s Firearms Investigation Unit.

As part of an ongoing effort to combat gun violence within communities, in September District Attorney Vance joined Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer to announce the formation of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence (PAGV), an independent, non-partisan coalition of prosecutors from major jurisdictions across the country. The coalition, which will identify and promote prosecutorial and policy solutions to this national public health and safety crisis, held its first-ever national summit last week in Atlanta.

Assistant District Attorney Lucy Cutolo prosecuted the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Christopher Ryan, Chief of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit.

District Attorney Vance also thanked members of the NYPD, including: Inspector John Burke; Capt. Brian Gill, Commanding Officer of the Firearms Investigation Unit; Capt. Robert Van Houten; Lt. Thomas McPartland; Sgts. Michael Ingram and Christopher Lawrence; Dets. Timothy Garcia, Brian Ujvary, Michael Machado, Dennis Kenefick, and the undercover detectives of the Firearms Investigation Unit.

Defendant Information:

PAUL LEE, a/k/a “Gangsta,” D.O.B. 9/28/89
Brooklyn, NY

• Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

• 17 ½ years in state prison
• Five years post-release supervision