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Middle Island Gun Trafficking Ring Busted, DA Says
Suffolk County authorities say they’ve busted a Middle Island couple and a Georgia man who allegedly ran an interstate gun-trafficking ring that supplied Long Island criminals with illegal firearms.
Shawdale Frederick, 32, and 33-year-old Janet Lewis were arrested last week along with Joshua Galbert, 31, of Marietta, Ga. They were ordered held without bail at Suffolk County jail until they’re arraigned Monday before Judge James Hudson.
“Criminal interstate firearms trafficking is a widespread and expanding plague,” said District Attorney Tom Spota, noting that 90 percent of guns seized by New York State investigators are smuggled from Georgia, Virginia, Florida, North and South Carolina.
Frederick, Lewis and Galbert were charged with criminal sale and possession of firearms after the 6-month investigation involved wiretaps, surveillance and undercover Gun Suppression Team detectives making 11 purchases from the suspects, prosecutors said.
Investigators bought more than 50 illegal handguns, bulletproof vests and a silencer from the suspects, authorities said. The weapons seized include a .50-caliber Desert Eagle, .45-caliber Llama, .40-caliber Smith & Wesson, a .357 Magnum and a half dozen 9mm pistols.
Spota announced the bust the same day that Hofstra University’s Center for Civic Engagement and the Insight Campaign to End Gun Violence hosted discussion featuring pro-gun-control lawmakers Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) and state Assemb. Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck) on the topic “How Can We Prevent Gun Violence in Our Communities?”