Ex-Delta Employee Helps Weapons Smuggling To New York -- Brooklyn DA Charges

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King's County DA Kenneth Thompson

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, announced that four men have been charged in two separate indictments for allegedly conspiring to sell 153 firearms – almost all of which were purchased in Georgia and destined for the streets of Brooklyn.

In a devastating breach of security, a former Delta Airlines employee allegedly carried backpacks and carry-on baggage full of guns and ammunition on commercial flights from Atlanta to New York on nearly 20 occasions. A current Delta ramp agent has been charged by federal prosecutors in Georgia with helping to get the weapons on the planes for a fee.

District Attorney Thompson said, “In this age of terrorism, it is simply unthinkable that anyone would breach the security of our nation’s airports to smuggle guns and ammunition, including assault weapons, on commercial airliners and jeopardize countless lives all to make money. To make matters worse, these guns were intended to hit the streets of Brooklyn, where they could have been used to shoot and kill our residents and police officers. The full weight of the law must now come down on these defendants.”

Commissioner Bratton said, “The flow of illegal firearms into our city only serve to fuel the proliferation of gun violence. Every day, New York City police officers must perform incredibly dangerous work to prevent guns from getting into the hands of criminals. This investigation underscores the risks gun traffickers will take and how they will blatantly endanger the lives of hundreds of people simply to turn a profit. But thanks to the investigative efforts of the NYPD’s Firearms Investigations Unit, Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and our federal law enforcement partners, this airborne pipeline has been grounded. Instead of being used in crimes, these guns are now permanently out of commission.”

The District Attorney identified the defendants as Mark Henry, 45, of 535 East 79th Street, in Canarsie, Brooklyn, and 1987 Tiffany Lane, Jonesboro, Georgia; Ernest Leneau, 54, of 632 East 94th Street, in Canarsie, Brooklyn; Adrian Alleyne, 24, of 9029 Farragut Road, in Canarsie, Brooklyn; and Grayling Smith, 51, of 1608 Prospect Place, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and 4339 Persian Court, in Snellville, Georgia. All of the defendants, except for Smith, have been arraigned. Henry was ordered held without bail; Leneau was ordered held on $1.5 million bond or $750,000 cash; Alleyne was ordered held on $250,000 bond or $150,000 cash. Smith is awaiting extradition from Georgia.

The District Attorney said that the indictments are the result of a long-term investigation conducted by the NYPD and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office between May 2014 and December 2014, during which time the defendants conspired to sell weapons purchased in Georgia to an NYPD undercover detective in Brooklyn. The weapons ranged from compact AR-15 and AK-47 assault weapons to 9mm handguns to Glock pistols. Approximately 153 guns were recovered during the investigation.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, Mark Henry made 17 trips between New York airports and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, in Atlanta, Georgia, between May 8, 2014, and December 10, 2014. It is alleged that he purchased most of the guns through a website, www.theoutdoorstrader.com, purchasing between 10 and 20 guns at a time, picking them up from sellers in and around Atlanta, Georgia, and then flying to New York with them on the plane. Defendant Ernest Leneau then allegedly took the guns and sold them to an undercover detective.

During the course of the investigation it was discovered that Henry, whose mother is a retired Delta employee, traveled back and forth between Georgia and New York for a nominal fee by using his mother’s employee privileges, which allowed him to take unlimited flights for life. Additionally, Henry worked for Delta as a ramp agent between 2007 and 2010.

It is alleged that Henry was able to carry the guns onto the planes with the assistance of Eugene Harvey, 31, a current Delta ramp agent, who, unlike Henry, is not required to go through security at the airport in Atlanta. Once Henry cleared security, he met up with Harvey inside the airport, who then allegedly gave him back the guns in exchange for cash. Harvey, of 4635 Greenspring Road, in College Park, Georgia, was arrested in Georgia and arraigned on a federal complaint in the Northern District of Georgia yesterday and ordered held on $25,000 bail.

It is further alleged that defendant Adrian Alleyne purchased guns from Leneau and sold them to an undercover detective, and that defendant Grayling Smith supplied two firearms to Leneau, who later sold them to a different undercover detective.

At the time of Henry’s arrest on December 10, 2014, 16 firearms were recovered from a backpack inside of his Canarsie home, including four 9mm pistols and one .380 caliber pistol, and quantities of ammunition and magazines. It is alleged that Henry transported those weapons from Atlanta to New York aboard a Delta Airlines flight that morning. 

The four defendants in the Brooklyn case are charged in a 591-count indictment with various offenses including conspiracy, manufacture, transport, disposition and defacement of weapons and dangerous instruments and appliances, first-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison; first-degree criminal sale of a firearm, a B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison; second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison; and criminal possession of a firearm, an E felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

Henry and Leneau are additionally charged in a separate 46-count indictment with first- and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, third-degree criminal sale of a firearm, and criminal possession of a firearm.

The investigation was conducted by Detective Jarrett Lemieux, of the New York City Police Department’s Firearms Investigations Unit, under the supervision of Lieutenant Michael Jennings, Captain Robert Van Houten and Captain Brian Gill, and the overall supervision of Chief Thomas Purtell, of the Organized Crime Control Bureau.

 

 

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