A man charged in a major interstate gun trafficking case with bringing a small arsenal to the city on Chinatown buses bragged on a secret recording he was exploiting lax laws in the South to flood New York with illegal weapons, Brooklyn prosecutors said Wednesday.
"I'm selling them the right way and the wrong way," Michael Bassier, nicknamed "Dread," told his ex-girlfriend on a wiretapped call. "When I'm out of state, in Atlanta and Georgia and all that, it's all legal. It's fully legal, but in New York it's completely illegal."
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said the arrest of Bassier and seven co-defendants for running a ring that moved dozens of guns from Georgia and Pennsylvania highlighted the need for tougher state and federal controls.
"We are seeing tragedies in Brooklyn every day because of the lax gun laws in other states," Thompson said at a news conference, standing behind a cafeteria-length table covered with handguns, rifles and assault weapons. "How many more people will have to die?"
Bassier, 31, of Brooklyn, allegedly took bus trips to Georgia to buy guns himself or through straw purchasers from gun stores, pawnshops and street dealers. He then brought them back to New York for resale, six-at-a-time in a gym bag on a Chinatown bus, authorities said.
"Listen, I'm walking through Manhattan, right?" he said on one recording, according to prosecutors. "I've got two Mac 10s on me, an SK assault rifle and four handguns and I'm walking through New York."
His ring was penetrated by an NYPD undercover cop who began buying guns last year and paid Bassier $130,000. Police recovered 112 weapons, including 20 assault rifles and Glock and Walther pistols, and a shotgun. He paid $150 to $300, and sold the weapons in meetings at a Canarsie parking lot for $800 to $1200, Thompson said, with assault rifles going for as much as $2,500.
Bassier later shifted his operation to Pittsburgh according to the 541-count indictment. He was charged along with two men from Brooklyn, two women from Pennsylvania, and three co-defendants involved in the Georgia end of the ring.
Thompson said the case was the third major gun trafficking operation his office has busted in the past year..
Bassier faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the most serious trafficking charge.