Police Reveal 'Heroin Express'
SMART Bus Company Issues Response To Investigations
DETROIT -- Metro Detroit law enforcement agencies said they have made at least 70 arrests this past week of people who are using public transportation to transfer drugs between Detroit and its suburbs.
Police departments from Detroit, Eastpointe, Roseville, Clinton Township, Fraser, Shelby Township and the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office are conducting an investigation into the drug trade along public bus routes in the area.
At a news conference Thursday, Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans and representatives from the other participating departments, explained the new trend and undercover investigations.
Evans said police became aware of a high number of suburban youths taking the bus into and out of Detroit neighborhoods.
Evans said acting under the assumption that drugs were involved, undercover investigators spent several weeks on buses and conducted surveillance of some individuals’ whereabouts once they got off the bus.
Police said they began to intercept individuals who had purchased drugs and even locate so-called “drug houses.”
Police said in addition to the arrests, which include felony and misdemeanor charges, officers have executed several search warrants and confiscated a variety of drugs -- mostly heroin.
Police said they have found individuals coming from as far north as New Baltimore.
Police believe Wayne County's initiative to seize vehicles involved in drug cases has deterred crooks from using their own vehicles and instead turn to buses.
The fines to recover impounded vehicles can top $1,000.
“Simply put, we have built a better mouse trap,” Evans said. “This effort shows that police agencies in this region are increasingly adaptive and cooperative in dealing with changing crime trends.”
In response to the police investigation, SMART bus service issued the following statement:
"As a public transportation provider in Southeast Michigan, SMART works in full cooperation with local law enforcement to ensure criminal activity is addressed. SMART is working with all local safety and law enforcement agencies to provide our contact information to ensure open and effective communication in assisting their efforts. Transporting more than one million passengers a month, SMART has an excellent safety record. Our employees and drivers are trained to handle all types of emergency situations. It is also important to note that public transportation vehicles are drug-free zones. Even medical marijuana is prohibited on our coaches."
POSTED: Friday, December 4, 2009