The New York Police Department made the largest gun bust in the city’s history, thanks to a trail that started on Instagram when a Brooklyn rapper, Matthew “Neno” Best, 26, flaunted pictures of guns and wads of cash on his page.
The NYPD reported the seizure of 254 guns that were being transported to North and South Carolina through an illegal gun smuggling ring. With 552 total counts of conspiracy, illegal sale of firearms, and criminal possession of weapons, 19 suspects in total have been indicted.
During a press conference this week, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the investigation began after Best bragged on YouTube that he was, “packing more guns than the Air Force.” Images captured from his Instagram showed that Best had tagged Omole Adedji, 31, who police now say is responsible for obtaining the guns.
Omole was purchasing guns from two men running operations from the Carolinas, officials said. An undercover cop then began purchasing scores of weapons from the two dealers over the last year, leading to their arrest, along with 17 accomplices.
Earl Campbell, 23, is accused of selling 90 guns, for an estimated amount of $75,000, during 24 meetings with the undercover officer beginning in October, the NY Daily News reports. The second dealer, Walter Walker, 29, is accused of selling 116 guns, for $82,000 during 19 meetings with the undercover detective since last September.
The gun bust comes as police take on an increasing presence online. Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan told Reuters last year that software has been developed to scan posts and chats for criminal activity and transfer the information to the appropriate authorities.
In August 2011, the NYPD announced the creation of its “Social Media Unit” that monitors Myspace, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for tips on criminal activities.