NEW YORK (PIX11) – Multiple law enforcement agencies descended on two locations in Harlem this week as part of an extensive investigation into a ghost gun operation allegedly run by teenagers.
PIX11 News was the only camera there as the NYPD, New York State Police and their federal partners executed two search warrants.
“These individuals have been producing in multiple ways firearms, illegal firearms,” said Inspector Courtney Nilan, who led the takedown.
During the pre-dawn takedown, members of the NYPD entered an apartment on West 121st in Harlem and arrested a 17-year-old. They believe the teen used stolen credit cards to purchase ghost gun parts.
Minutes later on West 114th Street, the team searched a second location and found a 16-year-old with a 3D-printed ghost gun in his pocket, authorities said. The teen was also taken into custody.
Both teens were processed at the 28 Precinct in Harlem.
Capt. Chris Jara noted the location is right across the street from a school.
During this investigation, police also received a tip that led them to an East Harlem day care center, where sources said an 18-year-old was manufacturing ghost guns.
Parents in Harlem were dismayed by ghost gun takedown in their neighborhood.
“It’s very disheartening, very disheartening. I own a day care and I also have four children – 20 to 8 years old – so it hurts because it’s so much, and so often and it’s getting closer and closer to home,” one mother told PIX11.
Police say teens running ghost gun operations is becoming a disturbing trend.
“The trends are starting to show that more ghost guns are making their way through the state and the City of New York, so we’re putting all our resources to try and stop these trends from happening,” NY State Police Investigator Christian Spears told PIX11 News.
Reflecting on this week’s ghost gun takedown, Inspector Nilan said she had mixed emotions.
“It’s alarming that a youth, a juvenile will feel comfortable to be in possession of a gun,” Nilan said. “But I also feel good that we are getting that one gun off the street that could potentially do harm to someone.”