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Home  >  Topics  >  Investigations

July 04, 2003
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N.C. Man is Charged in Weapons Sting

By William K. Rashbaum, The New York Times

A 32-year-old North Carolina man sold 11 guns to an undercover police detective in New York over a 13-month period, including two MAC-11 machine pistols, the authorities said yesterday.

The man, Sydney Ifill, was arraigned yesterday in State Supreme Court in Queens on a 22-count indictment charging him with weapons possession and criminal sale of a firearm, officials said.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and the Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown, announced the charges at a news conference at 1 Police Plaza, where they displayed several of the guns they said Mr. Ifill had sold to an undercover detective from the department's Firearms Investigation Unit. The guns included the MAC-11's, which were brand new, and several semiautomatic pistols and revolvers, as well as assorted ammunition.

"Lethal weapons sold in the black market infest our neighborhoods with gunfire and bloodshed and exact a deadly toll of suffering and death," Mr. Brown said.

The two-year investigation, called Operation Iron Pipeline, began in April 2001 when the police learned that Mr. Ifill was an illegal gun merchant, Mr. Brown said. Detectives and prosecutors assigned to the Narcotics Investigations Bureau in Mr. Brown's office then set up a sting operation that resulted in a number of face-to-face street transactions.

"This individual tried to make quick cash by smuggling illegal firearms from North Carolina and selling them anywhere he could in Queens," Mr. Kelly said. "Instead, our undercover officers found him, tracked him and put him behind bars."

Mr. Ifill was arrested on June 4 in North Carolina, where he later waived extradition.

The indictment charged Mr. Ifill, of Raleigh, with criminal possession of a weapon in the second, third and fourth degrees and third-degree criminal sale of a firearm. He faces a maximum sentence of 59 to 87 years in prison if convicted.

Mr. Ifill pleaded not guilty at his arraignment before Justice James P. Griffin, who set bail at $200,000, according to Patrick Clark, a spokesman for Mr. Brown. Mr. Ifill's lawyer, Frank Paone, declined to comment.

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