(CN) - Three men accused of trafficking guns on commercial flights are the first people ever charged in New York with aggravated enterprise corruption, prosecutors said Wednesday.
They face life in prison if convicted, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, who announced the filing of a 627-count indictment.
Four people, including a former Delta Air Lines employee, were previously charged in the case, accused of trying to sell 153 firearms that were transported on commercial flights from Atlanta to New York.
The four men previously charged are Mark Henry, Ernest Leneau, Adrian Alleyne and Grayling Smith, according to prosecutors.
Henry worked as a ramp agent for Delta between 2007 and 2010, and his mother is a retired Delta employee. He allegedly used his mother's unlimited-flights privilege to transport guns on 17 trips between Atlanta to New York.
Eugene Harvey, 32, another former Delta employee, was arrested last week in Georgia.
Henry, Leneau, Alleyne and Smith were originally charged with conspiracy and other counts in December 2014.
An upgraded indictment now charges Harvey, Henry and Leneau with aggravated enterprise corruption, an A-I felony with a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Harvey is accused of bringing guns into the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport through an employee entrance, circumventing security checks. Henry, 46, allegedly gave him the guns beforehand.
Once inside the airport, Harvey gave Henry the guns back so he could take them with on his flight to New York, prosecutors allege.
Alleyne, 25, and Leneau, 55, allegedly sold the guns to an undercover detective. Smith, 52, is accused of supplying two guns to Leneau.
"Upon further investigation and review upgraded charges are appropriate in this case, which exposed a gaping hole in our airport and national security. These [three] defendants, due to the very serious nature of the charges, now face life in prison under aggravated enterprise corruption," Thompson said in a statement.
New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton, who announced the indictment along with the DA, said, "The subversion of a commercial airline for the purpose of trafficking illegal firearms is an egregious betrayal of the public's trust."
New York's aggravated enterprise corruption statute went into effect in 2013.
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