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Investigation Into Illegal Guns Leads To More Than 100 Weapons, 12 Arrests In Putnam And Westchester Counties

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The deaths of NYPD officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora weighed heavily on cops in Westchester County and Putnam County during a massive gun bust.

More than 100 weapons were confiscated and a dozen people are facing charges, CBS2's Tony Aiello reported Thursday.

It looked like the prop room for a blockbuster action film. Weapon after weapon was on display as multiple police departments detailed Operation Casper, as in the famous friendly ghost, since almost half are untraceable "ghost guns."

"That means that there's not serial numbers on either portions of or on the entire gun," Westchester County Police Chief Inspector John Hodges said.

"What we look at at this table, for those of us who are civilians, is a sobering reminder of what tools exist out there to commit crimes and to commit death," Westchester County Executive George Latimer said.

Long guns, hand guns and high-capacity drum magazines were among the firearms police in the two counties snatched off the streets.

"Special attention was paid towards persons who are known to be involved in violent crimes, including convicted felons and persons convicted of domestic violence who are prohibited from possessing firearms," Westchester County Deputy Police Commissioner Terrance Raynor said.

The guns were taken from a dozen people at eight locations in Westchester and Putnam during raids on Tuesday. Intelligence gathered at the regional real-time crime center helped cops target felons and people convicted of domestic violence.

"We didn't just get guns off the street. We got them away from people who are not supposed to have them," Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah said.

Ballistics expert Art Holzman will be part of the team testing every weapon seized, including firing some into a so-called "trap" filled with rubber balls.

"That will stop a hollow point without expanding it, which makes it more appropriate for our forensic examination," Holzman explained.

Everything gets analyzed and entered into a national database to see if any of the guns were used in an earlier crime.

Several high-capacity drums were also seized during the raids.

"Of the same type that was used just last week in the murders of two New York City police officers," Raynor said.

Watch Elijah Westbrook's Report

Though the investigation and seizure of guns was miles from the five boroughs, it's another example of what New York City leaders are pointing to as the problem for the ongoing violence, CBS2's Elijah Westbrook reported.

"We are already getting a record number of guns off the streets, but we need to focus on getting those cases moved through the courts," Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said.

The gun used to kill Rivera and Mora was reportedly stolen back in 2017 in Baltimore.

The city's war on guns is getting attention from President Biden, who is expected to meet with Mayor Eric Adams on Feb. 3. Adams' office said they plan to develop a strategy to combat gun violence together.

City and state leaders have focused on preventing such violence, including a close call Wednesday, when a man was caught with a loaded handgun on the subway in Times Square.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has launched an interstate task force to combat trafficking of illegal guns into New York.

CBS2's Elijah Westbrook contributed to this report.

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