Notorious gunrunners sentenced for trafficking arms from Southern states to Brooklyn via ‘Iron Pipeline’
August 17, 2016
As published in the NY Daily News on August 15, 2016.
Prosecutors landed stiff sentences Monday in New York for two notorious gunrunners.
Rodney Brewer, 49, of LaGrange, Ga., and Natasha Harris, 36, of East New York, have admitted to Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun that they illegally trafficked firearms from Southern states to sell in Brooklyn.
Brewer, who pleaded guilty in June, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for making 13 round trips by car in 2014 on Interstate 95, also known as the “Iron Pipeline,” from Georgia to Canarsie, Brooklyn, to sell as many as 25 guns per trip.
“This defendant and his cohorts tried to make some easy money by flooding our streets with weapons of death and putting lives at risk,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson.
Brewer had been charged with trafficking 151 weapons.
The guns were bought at low prices and sold for more than triple the cost, prosecutors said.
“This case should serve as a warning to out-of-state gun traffickers that we will continue to go after them and hold them accountable, no matter where they live,” said Thompson.
Brewer made the trips with Michael Quick, who also pleaded guilty and is serving 18 years in prison. Three others were sentenced to a year in prison.
Meanwhile, the state attorney general’s office locked in a conviction in its 2014 “Operation Midnight Run” case.
Harris pleaded guilty Monday for conspiring with others to buy 33 weapons, including an assault rifle, at gun shows in Florida and using commuter buses bound for Chinatown to sell the arms in her neighborhood.
Harris agreed to serve 15 years and will be sentenced Sept. 8.
“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.
Many of the illegal weapons purchased at the gun shows were resold for up to four times their original price, prosecutors said.
While traveling with her grandmother and two children, Harris regularly bought pistols at the gun shows, then secured the weapons in the cargo holds of the buses.
Previously, her co-defendants Octavio Batista and Michele Cantres received 12 and seven years in prison, respectively.