On Wednesday, October 16, Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced the indictment of Christopher “Country” McPhaul, for allegedly illegally selling 30 firearms to an undercover police officer.
McPhaul, 43, reportedly sold the illegal guns to an undercover officer in Brooklyn on 10 separate occasions between April 1 and September 6 of this year. The transactions took place in the vestibule of a residential building in East New York, in broad daylight, just a block away from an elementary school, which was not in session during the incidents, according to Kelly.
The top count in McPhaul’s indictment is criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree. The indictment includes over 100 related charges. If convicted of the top charge, McPhaul faces up to 50 years behind bars.
According to the investigation, McPhaul offered to deliver various firearms and ammunition in exchange for cash that the officer paid in advance by wire or at the time of the delivery. The weapons included rifles, revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. During the investigation, McPhaul reportedly communicated with clients through three different cell phones, via coded text messages.
For example, “Country” allegedly advised the undercover officer that McPhaul had weapons available for delivery via the following text message, “Have a lot of toys for the kids. I’m back, a little $2,500 will take them all!” says the investigation.
The officer reportedly texted back expressing his interest and the two arranged to meet in Brooklyn to finalize the deal, according to reports. McPhaul reportedly sold the officer a .357 magnum revolver, two 9mm semi-automatic pistols, a .22 caliber pistol, 17 9mm rounds of ammunition and 30 .22 caliber rounds of ammunition in exchange for the agreed-upon $2,500.
The six-month investigation reportedly demonstrated that McPhaul traveled to the Raeford/Fayetteville area of North Carolina to refill his supply of weapons and then returned to Brooklyn shortly after to make the sale.
Firearms Investigation Unit detectives arrested McPhaul on October 4 in Brooklyn, when he last returned from North Carolina and was seen driving a car with North Carolina license plates.
Back in 2006, McPhaul was arrested in East Flatbush for criminal possession of a weapon. He was also arrested in North Carolina in January for possession of a stolen firearm.
“He kept in touch with the undercover officers weekly, in spite of himself,” Kelly said, noting that according to the investigation, McPhaul had a virtual gallery of guns that he would show clients.
The investigation recovered a total of 49 firearms, five of them reported stolen in North Carolina. The guns were sold for a total of $7,500, according to the report.
“The NYPD is ensuring that McPhaul will not be on the streets for some time,” Kelly said. “We will do everything we can to stop these dealers and whatever sources there may be.”
Kelly added that homicides are down citywide by 30 percent this week and homicides involving 18 to 21-year-olds have decreased by 54 percent this year.
“While New York City remains the safest large city in America, incidents of gun violence continue to plague our communities,” said Hynes. “The investigative partnership between the NYPD’s Firearms Investigations Unit and my office’s Major Narcotics Investigations Bureau is yet another successful chapter in our joint mission to stem the incessant flow of illegal firearms from other states into our own backyard.
“Such law enforcement partnerships require an extraordinary commitment of time and resources,” he went on. “They must continue to be a priority if we are to successfully combat the violence that is inevitable when illegal guns like these are delivered for sale in our community.”
Hynes, the 72nd Precinct and the Sunset Park Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District are jointly hosting a gun buyback event on Saturday, October 19 at the Beit El-Maqdis Islamic Center, 6206 Sixth Avenue between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. For more information, call the BID at 718-250-2000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.