Guns seized by the New York Police Department (Getty Images)
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Jeremiah Devon McDougald, 27, heads to court in Guilford County on Tuesday for an extradition hearing surrounding a conspiracy charge-filed in connection with the recent illegal firearms trafficking bust in New York City.
Greensboro police arrested McDougald on Aug. 7 after a manhunt ensued following an armed robbery. He since has been charged with conspiracy in the recent bust of 19 people suspected of trafficking illegal firearms to New York City from North Carolina and South Carolina. He also faces local charges of armed robbery, larceny of property and processing stolen goods.
At the extradition hearing Tuesday morning, McDougald could waive the extradition procedure and opt to go directly to New York City. If he does not do that, the New York governor would have to file a formal request-which Governor McCrory would have to approve-before McDougald would go to New York. He currently is in the Guilford County jail on a $150,000 bond.
McDougald and 18 others have been indicted in the bust of 254 guns believed to be trafficked to New York City. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said court-authorized wiretaps helped investigators link the weapons to gun sellers in both North Carolina and South Carolina. The Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor filed an indictment on 208 guns-ranging from pistols to assault weapons.
Bloomberg said more than half of the weapons seized were funneled to New York from North Carolina, where seven people have been indicted in the gun trafficking ring.
In light of the bust, Bloomberg is defending New York City's "stop and frisk" policy-which he said has been proven to work. "...Stop, question and frisk has taken 8,000 guns over the past year and 80,000 weapons," he said.
Some New Yorkers have said they believe the "stop and frisk" policy is a violation of a person's rights. Last week, a federal judge ruled the policy unconstitutional, saying it disproportionately uses indirect racial profiling. Now, the city is appealing that ruling, saying it helped catch the traffickers.
Bloomberg is claiming North Carolina's gun laws are "too weak" and helped the gun traffickers get a hold of the guns. In North Carolina, lawmakers recently approved a bill to expand concealed-carry laws. The Republican-backed bill allows guns in bars, restaurants and other places in which alcohol is served, so long as the owner does not expressly forbid it. Concealed-carry permit holders also can store guns in locked cars on public school campuses. They also can carry guns in parks and other public recreation areas.