Pa., NJ law enforcement team up to take dozens of illegally trafficked guns off the streets

Justin Udo
January 27, 2020 - 5:06 pm
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announces a new partnership with Pennsylvania that's aimed at getting illegally trafficked guns off the street

Andrew Kramer/KYW Newsradio

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania and New Jersey officials have a new partnership aimed at getting illegally trafficked guns off the street. They say their joint efforts already helped take down a gun trafficking ring where one of the guns was allegedly used to kill a Philadelphia toddler last year. 

Three dozens guns were recovered in Operation Zombie according to officials, who say the Philadelphia-based gun ring trafficked Uzis and sawed-offs as well as ARs and AKs, among other firearms.  

"We targeted ring leaders who used straw purchasers to move firearms in between Pennsylvania and New Jersey," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Shapiro says one of the guns recovered was used in the Oct. 20 murder of 2-year-old Nikolette Rivera in North Philadelphia, and the gun that injured 11-month-old Yazeem Jenkins in Hunting Park was also from the same gun pipeline. 

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says as part of the state's new relationship, they are now sharing gun-related information with each other.

"What this operation also shows is our commitment to keeping all of our communities safe by working together across states and across agencies to put an end to these iron pipelines of illegal firearms, and to stem the flow of dangerous drugs into our cities," Grewal said. 

Grewal says four out of five crime guns recovered in their state come from another state, with Pennsylvania being one of the leading sources.

"Philadelphia and Camden in many ways represent a single metropolitan area. Criminals don't halt their activities at the Delaware River, and we must work together across our borders to stop them," he said. 

Officials say five people were taken down in the operation, and 36 illegally trafficked guns and 20 ounces of methamphetamine were recovered. 

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Editor's note: The previous version of this story stated the same gun was used in the shootings of Nikolette Rivera and Yazeem Jenkins. The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General clarified that Attorney General Josh Shapiro meant to say that it was from the same gun pipeline, and the latest version indicates that change.