There’s a Chinatown connection in a major crime bust announced in Brooklyn today. The DA announced the indictments of seven suspects for allegedly running guns from Southern states to New York City via Chinatown buses.
Authorities called Michael Bassier of Brooklyn the ringleader, saying he sold more than 100 guns to undercover cops. In a recorded phone conversation, Bassier can be heard saying, “Listen, I’m walking through Manhattan, right? I’ve got two Mac 10s on me, an SK assault rifle and four handguns and I’m walking through New York.”
According to a press release from the DA’s office, Bassier allegedly “made 12 trips to Atlanta, Georgia, using Chinatown buses for transportation, including the Bus2NYC and other Chinatown bus lines.” According to its website, Bus2NYC has an office at 103 Canal St. The Post picked up on the Chinatown angle in its story:
Asked whether the Chinatown buses – which sell round-trip tickets between New York and Atlanta for $70 – could’ve done more to prevent such illegal activity, (DA Kenneth) Thompson said the blame lies strictly on Bassier. “I don’t want to dog the Chinatown buses,” said Thompson, before joking, “I get out of the way when I seem them on the street, personally.” Thompson then added: “He decided to take those buses. They’re cheap but there are times he couldn’t get on a Chinatown bus and he grabbed any bus he could because he had guns in his bag.”
As the Times reported, Thompson said the vast majority of guns used in Brooklyn crimes some from the South, where gun laws are weak:
Mr. Thompson and James P. O’Neill, the chief of department for the Police Department, gave several examples. The gun used to kill Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in their patrol car last December came from a Georgia pawnshop. The gun used to kill Officer Brian Moore earlier this year was one of 23 also stolen from a Georgia pawnshop; nine of those guns have been recovered at crime scenes in New York.
Bassier and the other defendants were charged in a 541-count indictment with conspiracy, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal sale of a firearm and other charges.