Michigan Gun Runner Busted in Jamaica

A Ruger .380, one of the handguns Justin McNeill allegedly sold to an undercover detective. Photo by James Case.

A Ruger .380, one of the handguns Justin McNeill allegedly sold to an undercover detective. Photo by James Case.

By David Brand

A Flint, MI man is accused of smuggling and selling 23 illegal guns, including assault weapons, to an undercover cop in Jamaica, prosecutors announced on Wednesday.

Justin McNeil, 28, was held without bail by Queens Criminal Court Judge Frances Wang on criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon and other various other charges, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a joint statement with NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.

Six of the weapons were modified into lethal assault weapons, Brown said.

“The heinous shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is more than enough evidence of how assault weapons can devastate a community,” Brown said. “We must do everything we can to stop the trade of illegal weapons in our communities.”

McNeill allegedly sold the weapons to an undercover detective on eight separate occasions between July and October.

The first gun deal occurred on July 3 along 168h Street in Jamaica, where McNeill allegedly sold the undercover officer a Romarm/Cugir Draco .762.

In ensuing transactions, McNeill allegedly sold a Taurus .45 caliber handgun, a Smith and Wesson .45 caliber handgun, a Ruger .380 caliber gun and a Smith and Wesson .9mm pistol with the serial number removed.

On Oct. 29, the final sale before the arrest, McNeill allegedly sold three pistols with serial numbers scratched off.

Judge Wang ordered McNeil to come back to court on Nov. 13.

A 2016 report by the office of the New York State Attorney General found that the vast majority of illegal guns recovered in New York City come from states with weaker gun laws.

O’Neill condemned the presence of these deadly, unaccounted for firearms.

“There are some disturbing truths in this day and age: Illegal guns proliferate and circulate in higher-crime neighborhoods that still need our help, he said. “And, everyday, New York City police officers perform incredibly dangerous work to prevent them from getting into criminals’ hands – and from adding to the shooting and homicide tallies.”