Riverhead man arrested in connection with illegal gun trafficking operation
Standing in front of a table with dozens of firearms Wednesday afternoon, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini announced the arrest of nine people who were connected to 63 sales of illegal firearms in Suffolk County.
Fifty-six weapons were recovered during the investigation, including 46 handguns, two assault weapons, and one fully automatic 9 mm Lanco rifle, commonly known as an Uzi, Mr. Sini said at a press conference in Hauppauge.
Jaason Hartmann, 21, of Riverhead was involved in at least 14 of the sales, “sometimes selling multiple guns in those transactions,” Mr. Sini said. He is charged with first-degree criminal sale of a firearm, third-degree criminal sale of a firearm, both violent felonies, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, officials said.
If convicted, Mr. Hartmann faces a maximum sentence of 25 years imprisonment, with the potential of consecutive sentencing, meaning he could serve more than 25 years, officials said.
Mr. Hartmann, whom Mr. Sini called “a major player in this operation,” was arrested after a search warrant was executed at his house.
“When officers and detectives execute search warrants they are literally risking their lives, particularly when dealing with a gun trafficker,” Mr. Sini said. “Riverhead [Police Department] did a phenomenal job coordinating with all the different law enforcement agencies in a variety of different ways, including the search warrant.”
Mr. Sini said Yasmine White, 25, of Mastic Beach, was the center of the operation for over a year. She reportedly facilitated 45 sales and was physically present at 22 of them. Her father and brother, both gang members, were arrested as well in connection to the weapons operation.
Timothy White Jr., 22, of Bellport was charged with the murder of a Queens man earlier this month, officials said. Mr. Sini said he was arrested Tuesday for “allegedly shooting and killing a Queens man outside a house party in North Bellport on June 17 of this year.” The shooting left James Skinner, 50, dead.
Mr. White Jr. was charged with second-degree murder and faces 25 years to life. He allegedly participated in at least 11 sales in the gun trafficking operation, officials said, and faces additional charges related to that. If convicted of the weapons charges he faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison with the potential for consecutive sentencing.
His sister is charged with first-degree criminal sale of a firearm, third-degree criminal sale of a firearm, both violent felonies, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, both felonies. She faces a sentence of 25 years imprisonment.
Ms. White was arraigned and is being held on $300,000 cash or $750,000 bond, officials said.
Their father, 46-year-old Timothy White Sr., of Mastic Beach, was reportedly involved in a minimum of four sales. He is charged with third-degree criminal sale of a firearm, a violent felony, and third-degree criminal possession of a firearm, a felony. He faces the maximum top count of 15 years behind bars with potential of consecutive sentencing.
Both Mr. White Sr. and Mr. White Jr. are Bloods members, and other defendants have gang ties, Mr. Sini said. They are expected to be arraigned Wednesday.
“It’s not a family I would invite over for Christmas dinner,” Mr. Sini said. “I wouldn’t say that they’re doing too well at life right now.”
The other people arrested included: Montaigne Henderson, 25, of East Quogue; Hector Rodriguez, 44, of East Patchogue; Justin Braunskill, 31, of Mastic Beach; Trayrone Booker, 24, of Shirley; and Daquan Garrison, 27, of Bellport. They will all be charged with a variety of firearm offenses.
Mr. Sini said this was the first publicly discussed wiretap investigation related to a firearms arrest for the District Attorney’s office. Surveillance footage was also used for the investigation, which lasted several months. At least four of the guns purchased were used in shootings in Suffolk County, he added.
The weapons were trafficked from other states, many from the Iron Pipeline, where guns from southern states with looser guns laws are brought to northeast states, typically on Interstate 95. Each of the guns cost different amounts, with the Uzi valued at over $1,000, Mr. Sini said.
“[Our partnership with the Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] allows us to take guns off the street that are literally being used in violent crimes,” Mr. Sini said. “That’s critical.”
Top photo caption: Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini holds a weapon that was seized during the arrests. (Credit: Nicole Smith)