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Leader of gun smuggling ring gets 15 years in prison

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NEW YORK — A gun trafficker was sentenced to 15 years in prison for her role as the leader of a ring that brought guns from Florida to New York City, prosecutors announced Monday.

Natasha Harris, 36, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of criminal sale of a firearm and criminal possession of a weapon.

“Today’s guilty plea sends a clear message– if you bring deadly illegal weapons into our state, we will catch you and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Harris’ ring of high-volume gun traffickers funneled weapons from Florida to New York City, prosecutors said. In at least one instance in October of 2014, Harris, along with her grandmother and two young children, traveled from Brooklyn to Orlando to attend a gun show.  Before they left Florida, Harris handed a purple suitcase filled with 33 guns over to a courier.

Most of the guns were brought into the city on commuter buses headed for Chinatown, prosecutors said. Harris and her conspirators resold them in New York for up to four times their original Florida gun show price.

Police seized more than 70 illegal guns, prosecutors said.  Eighteen of the guns had their serial numbers filed off.

“We must do absolutely everything in our power to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of criminals,”  Schneiderman said at the time of Harris’ arrest. “Preventing criminals from circumventing these measures by illegally shipping dangerous weapons into our communities is literally a matter of life or death.”