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Press Release | NO. 2003-063

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Press Release # 063
Thursday, June 12, 2003

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, And Department Of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn Announce Arrest Of Illegal Firearms Dealer

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, and Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn today announced the arrest of Lester Battle, 28, for selling illegal firearms.

Battle, who has worked as a clerical associate at the city's Human Resources Administration agency for seven years, was arrested on Wednesday, June 11, at 5 p.m., outside his workplace at 45 Nevin Street in Brooklyn.

The arrest follows a 15-month multi-agency operation. After receiving information generated through the District Attorney's office, the NYPD's Firearms Investigation Division used undercover detectives to purchase 27 illegal guns from Battle on 14 different occasions since March 2002. Battle conducted one of the sales, in which detectives bought three guns, during a lunch break outside his building in Brooklyn.

Most of the firearms Battle sold were 9-mm automatic handguns, though detectives also purchased two Uzis and two sawed-off shotguns from him. Police traced one of the 9-mm guns they bought to a non-fatal shooting that occurred on October 13, 2001, in the 73rd Precinct.

Battle's brother, Saiyd Pryor, 21, was also arrested last night at 11:30 p.m. Pryor lives with Battle at 70-38 Parsons Boulevard in Queens, and took part in eight of the illegal sales that undercover detectives conducted.

Commissioner Kelly said: "This individual sold numerous illegal firearms that went right to the streets of our city and into the hands of other criminals. This arrest stands as another example of the relentless determination of this Department to find the people who sell illegal guns and to put them in prison. I want to commend everyone who helped make this case a success."

District Attorney Hynes said: "The outstanding level of cooperation between the District Attorney's Office, the NYPD and the Department of Investigation made these arrests possible. Selling illegal firearms is a
very dangerous crime. These guns can very well end up in the hands of children, or be used against police officers. What makes this case even more outrageous is that it was perpetrated by a city employee. This
defendant and others like him make it more difficult for our city to get these dangerous weapons off the streets, which deters our on going efforts to make Brooklyn and New York City a safer place."

Commissioner Hearn said: "It's shocking and troubling that a City employee would engage in such risky illegal conduct and possibly endanger the safety and lives of the people of New York. I congratulate
the NYPD's Firearm Investigation Division, District Attorney Hyne's office and the DOI investigators for their excellent work on this case."

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