"Chinatown" Buses Used to Traffick Guns, NYC Investigation Finds

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 19 2013 6:08 PM

NYC's Historic Gun Bust Starts on Instagram, Ends on "Chinatown Bus"

176922008
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 19: Guns seized by the New York Police Department (NYPD), in the largest seizure of illegal guns in the city's history, are displayed on a table during a press conference on August 19, 2013 in New York City.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the city’s largest ever gun bust today. As part of a 10-month undercover operation, police seized 254 illegal firearms, including models typically used to commit violent crimes, Bloomberg said in a statement.

The historic raid started, of all places, on Instagram, reports the BBC.

Advertisement

The 10-month investigation resulting in the arrests began after police learned that gun sales were taking place in a recording studio in the borough of Brooklyn.  An aspiring rapper had "posted images of guns and cash on Instagram", New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

19 people were indicted for trafficking firearms into the city from North and South Carolina. Two of the accused were caught transporting as many as 14 guns at a time on economy buses operating in the vicinity of Manhattan’s Chinatown, according to New York City police.

The city’s “Chinatown bus” services are popular for low-cost travelers of all types.  Here’s how the Economist summed up the clientele.

For some 15 years “Chinatown bus” lines have shuttled thrifty folk between east-coast cities for a fraction of the price of name-brand carriers. Chinese immigrants were first to hop aboard, followed by college students and other cash-strapped Americans.

The buses, it turns out, are also an attractive way to transport guns, reports USA TODAY.

One of the discount bus companies charges $60 one-way from Raleigh, N.C., to New York. The fare is about half that charged by Greyhound, which, unlike the Chinatown buses, requires identification for boarding.

Bloomberg used the bust to trumpet the city’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policing policy, which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge last week.  According to Bloomberg, “the intelligence gathered during the investigation revealed that the defendants recognized New York’s pro-active policing tactics made selling weapons in the city more difficult."

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.