DA Vance, Mayor De Blasio, Commissioner Bratton Announce Indictment of Gun Traffickers for Selling Loaded Handguns, Assault Weapons, and Ammunition


October 27, 2015

More Than 3,000 Guns Recovered Over the Course of Manhattan DA Prosecutions Since 2010; 1,000 From VCEU Alone 

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Mayor Bill de Blasio, and New York City Police Department Commissioner William J. Bratton today announced the indictment of SAMUEL BARRETO, a/k/a “Scrappy,” MICHEAL AKPAN, a/k/a “Da Don,” MICHAEL RIVERA, TRAYVON SMITH, a/k/a “Trey,” CARL SMALLS, a/k/a “Unc,” and KEITH HUGHES, a/k/a “OG,” for selling 74 illegal guns and ammunition to an undercover police detective posing as a Manhattan-based gun dealer. BARRETTO and SMALLS are each charged with Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree, as well as a number of other Criminal Possession of a Weapon and Conspiracy charges. RIVERA, SMITH, AKPAN, and HUGHES are each charged with Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, as well as additional serious felony charges related to the sale and possession of the illegal firearms.[1] 

“In less than six years, my Office’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit and our partners in the NYPD have taken more than 1,000 illegal guns off city streets over the course of 21 indictments filed against 64 gun traffickers,” said District Attorney Vance. “These deadly weapons will no longer be able to shoot, maim, or kill New Yorkers – from victims of domestic violence, to victims of gang violence, to police officers who run toward, not away, from gunfire.

“We suspect that most of these guns, like nearly every illegal firearm in New York, came from out of state. Recognizing this, I co-founded Prosecutors Against Gun Violence last year, and we are convening for our third summit later this week in Oregon to discuss the link between domestic violence and gun crimes. We know that District Attorneys alone are not going to be able to prosecute our way out of this public health and safety crisis – not with an Iron Pipeline pumping handguns, AK-47s, and other military-style assault weapons into our cities and communities – but prosecutors have decades of hands-on experience, and our thinking is not clouded by partisanship, only public safety.”

Mayor de Blasio said: “Anyone dealing in illegal guns in our city is up against the full force of government. Our message today is clear: if you’re selling illegal firearms, we will find you.  We are supporting this work in every way we can—from investing in anti-violence NYPD resources to adding millions for anti-gang efforts. We will continue pushing Washington to step up with real and meaningful action as well. I want to thank Commissioner Bratton, DA Vance, and our hardworking NYPD for helping keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence.” 

Police Commissioner Bratton said: “The toll that Illegal firearms take on New York City goes well beyond the number of persons killed or injured. Their impact is one of immeasurable loss – deeply affecting families and entire communities for years to come. This is why the NYPD, in particular the Firearms Investigations Unit, continues to dedicate all available resources to stopping illegal guns from reaching our streets. I commend the NYPD investigators and the prosecutors of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for their work in this case, which permanently ensured these firearms will no longer inflict any harm.”  

According to the indictment, from approximately January 2014 to August 2015, the defendants sold a total of 74 guns, as well as ammunition, to an undercover NYPD detective. BARRETTO, who introduced the undercover detective to many of the other co-defendants, personally sold 39 firearms, including 6 assault weapons. SMALLS sold 37 firearms to the undercover detective.  AKPAN and SMITH sold 4 firearms, HUGHES sold 2 firearms, and RIVERA sold one, each acting in concert with either BARRETTO or SMALLS. Some of the firearms sold are among the most powerful firearms available, specifically the .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum revolvers and the Norinco assault rifle. The majority of sales took place in broad daylight in residential neighborhoods in Harlem and East Harlem, with seven of the 45 total transactions taking place in the Bronx. In total, the defendants received more than $52,000 as a result of the firearms purchases during the investigation.

In a separate indictment, JAYQUAN GRIFFIN, a/k/a “Black,” is charged with selling 15 guns to an undercover detective in and around the vicinity of Morningside Park in West Harlem between November 2014 and August 2015. In total, the defendant charged the undercover detective more than $15,000 for the firearms throughout the course of the investigation. GRIFFIN faces multiple counts of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First and Third Degrees, and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. GRIFFIN was arrested by members of the NYPD Firearms Investigations Unit on October 7, 2015 and arraigned in New York State Supreme Court before Judge Edward J. McLaughlin, who set bail in the amount of $350,000 bond or $125,000 cash. GRIFFIN is currently incarcerated on Riker’s Island.

The investigations in both cases were 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 a special focus on illegal firearms trafficking within New York City. Since its formation, VCEU has brought 21 indictments against 64 gun traffickers operating between New York City and states including Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Since its creation, VCEU has increased gun trafficking prosecutions by the Manhattan District Office by more than 1,000 percent and conducted investigations that have led to the removal of more than 1,000 illegal firearms from the streets of New York City. 

Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast is handling the prosecution of the case against BARRETTO, AKPAN, SMALLS, HUGHES, RIVERA, and SMITH, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Christopher Prevost, Deputy Chief of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit, Assistant District Attorney Christopher Ryan, Chief of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit, and Executive Assistant District Attorney John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Assistant District Attorney Prevost is handling the prosecution of GRIFFIN. VCEU Investigative Analysts Rosemary McGuirk, Jonathan Diver, William Andrewes, and Michael Raccioppi provided assistance on both cases. 

District Attorney Vance thanked Commissioner Bratton, as well as Deputy Inspector Brian Gill, Captain Robert Van Houten, Detectives Bladimir Falette, Angel Melendez, Ivelesse Rodriguez, Douglas Lansing, Christopher Shaughnessy, and the undercover detectives of the NYPD Firearms Investigations Unit.

[1] The charges contained in the indictments are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Defendant Information:

First Indictment

SAMUEL BARRETTO, a/k/a “Scrappy,” D.O.B. 11/8/1990
New York, NY

Charges:

  • Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 26 counts
  • Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 34 counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 10 counts
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
  • An Attempt to Commit the Crime of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • An Attempt to Commit the Crime of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
  • An Attempt to Commit the Crime of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, a class E felony, 4 counts

MICHAEL AKPAN, a/k/a “Da Don,” D.O.B. 8/22/1992
Bronx, NY

Charges:

  • Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 4 counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 2 counts
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

KEITH HUGHES, a/k/a “OG” D.O.B. 2/26/1954
New York, NY

Charges:

  • Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

MICHAEL RIVERA
New York, NY 

Charges:

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

TRAYVON SMITH, a/k/a “Trey,” D.O.B. 12/20/1995
New York, NY

Charges:

  • Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 4 counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 4 counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

CARL SMALLS, a/k/a “Unc,” D.O.B. 5/15/1989
New York, NY

Charges:

  • Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 2 counts
  • Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 37 counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 33 counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Second Indictment:

JAYQUAN GRIFFIN, a/k/a “Black,” D.O.B. 7/25/89
New York, NY

Charges:

  • Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree, a class B felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 10 counts
  • Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 15 counts