An NYPD officer has been arrested in connection with a months-long firearms trafficking investigation after he allegedly stole guns from his precinct to be sold on the street and arranged drug buys while on duty, authorities said.
Nicholas Mina was arrested late Thursday and charged with conspiracy, grand larceny and sale of a firearm, among other crimes. Information on an attorney wasn't immediately available. He and four co-conspirators who were also arrested were scheduled to be arraigned Friday.
Authorities say the group allegedly trafficked at least 10 guns over a two-month period. The alleged ringleader of the group, Ivan Chavez, is accused of procuring firearms from various sources and removing serial numbers before selling them, prosecutors said.
Four additional firearms were recovered from his home when a search warrant was executed. Charges against him are pending and information on an attorney wasn't available.
Five of the firearms involved in the trafficking network allegedly came from Mina. The 31-year-old officer allegedly stole four of them from his colleagues' lockers at the Ninth Precinct station house in the East Village. The fifth was his own. Wiretaps of phones for Mina and Chavez reveal incriminating and explicit conversation about gun sales, the indictment says.
Law enforcement sources say one of the buyers was an undercover officer.
A six-year veteran of the force, Mina was part of a 24-hour security detail and had been assigned to guard the lockers after a series of thefts that included bulletproof vests, cash and an iPad along with the guns. One of the bulletproof vests Mina allegedly stole from a locker was recovered by authorities.
Mina was arrested following an investigation by the NYPD Firearms Suppression Unit, Internal Affairs Bureau and Manhattan District Attorney's office. He allegedly confessed to investigators that he stole the guns to support his drug habit.
The district attorney's office says further charges, including drug conspiracy, are possible.
Also charged Friday were Meryl Lebowitz, 64, and Jennifer Sultan, 38. Lebowitz allegedly delivered guns and drugs for the ring. According to the indictment, she confessed to having picked up two guns that had been sold to Chavez and lived one floor below him. Investigators intercepted phone calls between the two, the indictment said.
The indictment alleges Sultan was a gun trafficker and that she had been communicating with Chavez about providing him guns. She and Chavez allegedly engaged in extensive, daily conversation about the guns, as well as providing and selling drugs, the indictment says.
There was no information on attorneys for either of the woman charged in the indictment.
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