You are reading

Queens Gun Trafficking Ring Dismantled, Four Arrested: DA

District Attorney Melinda Katz displays the guns recovered by police in the case (Twitter/ District Attorney Melinda Katz)

July 22, 2020 By Allie Griffin

A gun trafficking ring in Queens has been dismantled after its ringleaders were arrested Tuesday.

Three Queens residents who oversaw the operation were arrested and arraigned Tuesday for smuggling guns from Virginia to New York, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced.

A Virginia man was also arrested Tuesday as part of a 10-months-long undercover investigation that began in September 2019 and is known as “Operation Tiger.”

The gun traffickers allegedly smuggled nearly two dozen guns to Queens. Police confiscated 23 handguns, more than 10 high capacity magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

The operation was led by Jessica “Cess Milla” Heyliger, 35, of Jamaica, who was the principal dealer of the weapons, according to the criminal complaint.

Laquan Benson, 36, of Richmond, Virginia was her main supplier and Mitchell “Mitxh” Myree, 36, of Jamaica acted as backup. A fourth conspirator, Sharod “Yayo” King, 32, of Woodside, was Heyliger’s alleged salesman, according to the complaint.

Police began their investigation into the crew in September 2019 when an undercover officer allegedly purchased a handgun and two large capacity ammunition feeding devices from King. By December 2019, investigators got the go-ahead to track King’s cellphone.

The undercover officer purchased guns and ammunition from King on 13 separate occasions mostly in and around Astoria.

Heyliger is accused of supplying all the weapons and ammo to King. She got nearly all of the guns from Benson, who bought them online from firearms re-sellers using an alias. The guns were transported to New York City and delivered to Heyliger, according to the charges.

The defendants have been charged with criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon and conspiracy. Three of the four face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Myree faces up to 15 years.

The arrests come at a time when there has been a spike in shootings across New York City.

“With the recent increase in shootings, I am more determined than ever to stop gun violence,” DA Katz said.

“Combating this dangerous rise in gun violence, means cutting off the supply of illegal guns coming into our neighborhoods,” she added. “Each gun removed from the streets of Queens represents a tragedy that has been averted.”

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea joined the DA in announcing the arrests.

“This case reflects the NYPD’s efforts to stop illegal firearms from reaching New York City’s streets,” Shea said in a statement. “Our NYPD detectives, and law enforcement partners, remain vigilant in our work to keep these weapons out of the hands of criminals where they threaten all of our communities.”

email the author: [email protected]

2 Comments

Click for Comments 
Sara Ross

That’s great but unfortunately it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the guns coming into NY, probably the majority of which are coming from the South. I’m in Queens and we have so many license plates from SC, FL, Texas and NC.

Reply
A Voice

Great police work that was started last Sept. And now that the Anti-Crime Unit in the NYPD has been disbanded, you can count on almost none of these types of arrests going forward. Thanks Willy Wilhelm.

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Queens Public Library celebrates Black History Month with nearly 150 programs highlighting Black resistance, culture

Feb. 2, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed

Throughout February, Queens Public Library will celebrate “Black Resistance” — the theme of its 2023 Black History Month observance — with nearly 150 comprehensive programs and initiatives, including theater performances, author talks and art workshops for all ages, spotlighting various aspects of Black heritage, culture and resilience. 

Popular places where you can watch the big game in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘Limitless possibility’: BP Richards announces community visioning workshops on redevelopment of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus in Queens Village

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. and Empire State Development on Tuesday, Jan. 31, announced the launch of a series of community visioning workshops that will be held to hear input from eastern Queens residents about the redevelopment of the 50-acre Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus in Queens Village. 

The first community visioning workshop will be held on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. at P.S./I.S. 208 located at 74-30 Commonwealth Blvd. in Glen Oaks.

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.