'Iron Pipeline' a conduit for illegal weapons to New York

New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton anounces arrests in a suspected gun-trafficking ring. (Andrew Gombert / European Pressphoto Agency)

Michael Bassier was on a roll and proud of it.

He stepped off the bus that had carried him from Georgia to New York, a route dubbed the Iron Pipeline because of its popularity with gun runners, and called an ex-girlfriend to boast.

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"You wanna know what I do now?" he said to her in a secretly recorded conversation. "I sell guns."

Bassier was a regular on the Iron Pipeline, according to prosecutors who announced his arrest this month on charges that could send him to prison for 25 years.

But he was far from the only Pipeline regular, authorities say, and satisfaction over his arrest has been tempered by anger at the ease with which illegal firearms make it to New York, Connecticut and other states with some of the nation's toughest gun laws.

Law enforcement officials say 90% of the guns seized in connection with New York City crimes come via the Iron Pipeline from Virginia, Georgia, Florida and other states linked by Interstate 95, the heavily traveled corridor favored by gun smugglers.

The Iron Pipeline is not limited to the highway, however. Last year, Brooklyn Dist. Atty. Ken Thompson announced the arrests of five men, including a former Delta Air Lines ramp worker, in connection with the transport of weapons on Delta flights from the airline’s hub in Atlanta to New York.

The Iron Pipeline is not limited to the highway, however. Last year, Brooklyn Dist. Atty. Ken Thompson announced the arrests of five men, including a former Delta Air Lines ramp worker, in connection with the transport of weapons on Delta flights from the airline’s hub in Atlanta to New York.

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The Iron Pipeline is not limited to the highway, however. Last year, Brooklyn Dist. Atty. Ken Thompson announced the arrests of five men, including a former Delta Air Lines ramp worker, in connection with the transport of weapons on Delta flights from the airline’s hub in Atlanta to New York.

The Iron Pipeline is not limited to the highway, however. Last year, Brooklyn Dist. Atty. Ken Thompson announced the arrests of five men, including a former Delta Air Lines ramp worker, in connection with the transport of weapons on Delta flights from the airline’s hub in Atlanta to New York.

The Iron Pipeline is not limited to the highway, however. Last year, Brooklyn Dist. Atty. Ken Thompson announced the arrests of five men, including a former Delta Air Lines ramp worker, in connection with the transport of weapons on Delta flights from the airline’s hub in Atlanta to New York.

The Iron Pipeline is not limited to the highway, however. Last year, Brooklyn Dist. Atty. Ken Thompson announced the arrests of five men, including a former Delta Air Lines ramp worker, in connection with the transport of weapons on Delta flights from the airline’s hub in Atlanta to New York.

The Iron Pipeline is not limited to the highway, however. Last year, Brooklyn Dist. Atty. Ken Thompson announced the arrests of five men, including a former Delta Air Lines ramp worker, in connection with the transport of weapons on Delta flights from the airline’s hub in Atlanta to New York.

The disparity in state gun laws has become the latest focus of gun-control advocates, led by President Obama, who say the federal government must step in to fill gaps created by the patchwork of legislation that allows things like the Iron Pipeline to thrive.

The disparity in state gun laws has become the latest focus of gun-control advocates, led by President Obama, who say the federal government must step in to fill gaps created by the patchwork of legislation that allows things like the Iron Pipeline to thrive.

Opponents of gun control, led by the National Rifle Assn., say there is no evidence that tougher gun laws reduce gun violence. They oppose laws passed in New York and Connecticut in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, laws that ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Opponents of gun control, led by the National Rifle Assn., say there is no evidence that tougher gun laws reduce gun violence. They oppose laws passed in New York and Connecticut in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, laws that ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Opponents of gun control, led by the National Rifle Assn., say there is no evidence that tougher gun laws reduce gun violence. They oppose laws passed in New York and Connecticut in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, laws that ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Opponents of gun control, led by the National Rifle Assn., say there is no evidence that tougher gun laws reduce gun violence. They oppose laws passed in New York and Connecticut in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, laws that ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Opponents of gun control, led by the National Rifle Assn., say there is no evidence that tougher gun laws reduce gun violence. They oppose laws passed in New York and Connecticut in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, laws that ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Opponents of gun control, led by the National Rifle Assn., say there is no evidence that tougher gun laws reduce gun violence. They oppose laws passed in New York and Connecticut in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, laws that ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Opponents of gun control, led by the National Rifle Assn., say there is no evidence that tougher gun laws reduce gun violence. They oppose laws passed in New York and Connecticut in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, laws that ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Opponents of gun control, led by the National Rifle Assn., say there is no evidence that tougher gun laws reduce gun violence. They oppose laws passed in New York and Connecticut in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, laws that ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Opponents of gun control, led by the National Rifle Assn., say there is no evidence that tougher gun laws reduce gun violence. They oppose laws passed in New York and Connecticut in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, laws that ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Opponents of gun control, led by the National Rifle Assn., say there is no evidence that tougher gun laws reduce gun violence. They oppose laws passed in New York and Connecticut in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, laws that ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

One local congresswoman, Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, is proposing legislation that would include a $100 federal tax on retail gun sales. The bill was to be introduced in the House this week.

One local congresswoman, Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, is proposing legislation that would include a $100 federal tax on retail gun sales. The bill was to be introduced in the House this week.

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One local congresswoman, Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, is proposing legislation that would include a $100 federal tax on retail gun sales. The bill was to be introduced in the House this week.

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One local congresswoman, Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, is proposing legislation that would include a $100 federal tax on retail gun sales. The bill was to be introduced in the House this week.

One local congresswoman, Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, is proposing legislation that would include a $100 federal tax on retail gun sales. The bill was to be introduced in the House this week.

One local congresswoman, Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, is proposing legislation that would include a $100 federal tax on retail gun sales. The bill was to be introduced in the House this week.

One local congresswoman, Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, is proposing legislation that would include a $100 federal tax on retail gun sales. The bill was to be introduced in the House this week.

One local congresswoman, Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, is proposing legislation that would include a $100 federal tax on retail gun sales. The bill was to be introduced in the House this week.

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