"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"

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.


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."



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Why Time Is on Our Side in the Fight Against Ebola

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

Catacombs Where You Can Stroll Down Hallways Lined With Corpses

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.


How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The U.S. Has a New Problem in Syria: The Moderate Rebels Feel Like We’ve Betrayed Them

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 4:15 PM The Trials of White Boy Rick A Detroit crime legend, the FBI, and the ugliness of the war on drugs.
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 1 2014 4:55 PM Blood Before Bud? Must a gentleman’s brother always be the best man at his wedding?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 4:46 PM Ebola Is No Measles. That’s a Good Thing. Comparing this virus to scourges of the past gives us hope that we can slow it down.
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?