BROOKLYN — Police arrested four men, including an MTA subway conductor, on gun trafficking charges as part of an operation targeting this year’s surge in gun violence, officials said Thursday.
The guns were brought to the city from South Carolina and Virginia on the Iron Pipeline and were sold in Brooklyn, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said. Undercover officers bought 44 guns during the operation.
“This indictment is part of our multi-pronged approach to stem the surge in gun violence that we have seen in Brooklyn and throughout the entire city this year,” Gonzalez said. “We are determined to work with the Police Department to focus specifically on the drivers of crime, including those responsible for the proliferation of firearms by bringing them to streets of Brooklyn.”
Montoun Hart, 49, of Brownsville, Brooklyn; Vernal Douglas, a 49-year-old MTA employee, of Flatlands, Brooklyn; Christopher Hodges, 31, of Walterboro, South Carolina and Ira Jones, 42, of South Boston, Virginia were charged in a 139-count indictment with first, second and third-degree criminal sale of a firearm; second and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon; fourth-degree conspiracy and related charges.
Douglas, the conductor, has been taken off active service, MTA spokesman Tim Minton said.
“The MTA has zero tolerance for conduct that facilitates crimes of violence, and fully cooperates with law enforcement investigations in such cases,” Minton said.
Police recovered two assault weapons: a German Sport Guns .22 caliber rifle and a Smith & Wesson 9mm semi-automatic pistol.They also recovered a Ruger .44 caliber revolver, a Smith & Wesson .357 caliber revolver, a Springfield Armory 9mm pistol, a Taurus 9mm, a Glock .380 caliber, a Glock 9mm and a Ruger P89 9mm pistol.