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Chasing the Dragon on a Russian Bus
Yasha Levine ( Email ) on March 9, 2008

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Is dealing smack in Russia going mobile? If the latest string of bus driver arrests is any indication then the answer is "da." In the past two months alone, several bus drivers have been arrested for selling heroin while on the job. Here are some of the bus-busts that've gone down this year so far:

The most recent bust occurred in Moscow on March 6, when police arrested a driver as he pulled in his bus into his terminal stop. As it turned out, the perp had been working that bus route for some time now, trading baggies of smack for cash with passengers-in-the-know without even bothering to get out of the driver's seat. Pending an ongoing investigation, the police are short on details, but they did indicate that the suspect had to be subdued with force after he resisted arrest. Lab results confirmed what his pinhole eyes had already implied: he was getting high while on the job.

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 Friendly bus driver or evil drug dealer? In today's capitalist Russia, one can never be sure.

* A week earlier, a bus driver in Kaliningrad got nabbed for exactly the same racket. It worked like this: a customer would give the driver cash upon entering as if he was buying a ticket and get his stuff as soon as the bus cleared out of passengers.

* Three weeks before that, on January 14, another Moscow bus driver was caught dealing heroin. Unlike the previous two, this guy conducted his business outside the bus, selling smack at bus stops. At the time of the bust, he had 2 grams of heroin in possession, a paltry amount we might ad. Lab tests confirmed that he was getting high from his own supply. But the fact that he was a junkie selling to support his own habit didn't seem to eat into his business. According to the cops, he was slinging about 200 grams a month, netting 250,000 rubles (10 grand US!) over and above his official salary.

What's interesting to note is that none of the news reports made any mention about these drivers' safety records. I guess that shooting up and driving didn't make them any more prone to accidents than their colleagues. It's a fact that doesn't reflect well on Russia's bus drivers, not to mention the country's attention to road safety. Maybe this is what drove them to self-medicate in the first place.

Anyway, if you ever need to score some smack in Moscow but don't have the connect, just tap your friendly neighborhood bus driver. He might be the one to hook you up.

—Yasha Levine


 
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