Buffalo Police and federal authorities are investigating what is believed to be a multi-state firearms trafficking ring. On Wednesday, they announced the arrest of a Buffalo man in possession of more than a dozen guns.
James P. Kennedy, US Attorney for the Western District of New York, says 33-year-old Titus Thompson, Jr. has been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Thompson has two prior felony convictions and, by law, is disqualified from possessing any guns.
Kennedy says Buffalo Police and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to a complant and, upon executing a search warrant on May 18, recovered 14 various guns from the upper and lower apartments at 89 Parkridge Avenue, an address said by prosecutors to be used by the defendant.
"In addition to those firearms a bulletproof jacket, multiple 30-round magazine clips which were fully loaded, over 100 different types of ammunition, along with a 60-round .223 drum magazine and drug paraphernalia, were discovered and seized during a search of that lower apartment," Kennedy said.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood said getting just one illegal gun off the street is a good day but seizing this many guns is "a great day."
"We're going to be working every day and continue to work with our federal agencies and get these weapons off the street," Lockwood said.
Investigators believe Thompson may be involved in a multi-state operation that brings guns into New York State from Ohio, where many conditions banned by New York's SAFE Act remain legal. It is believed by authorities the guns seized were intended to be sold illegally.
According to Kennedy, the investigation continues.
"Executing the search warrant and the charging of Mr. Thompson has sort of an incremental effect," he said. "Not only does it remove these guns from the street but it also takes out a person who is, we believe, responsible for illegally trafficking firearms."
If convicted, Thompson faces up to 10 years in prison and a quater-million dollar fine.