Using Instagram as a storefront for goods that you're selling is growing in popularity (especially in Kuwait), being a free and easy way to advertise items. A few clever hashtags and a group of loyal followers later gives you an instant marketplace. It works a treat for vintage products and handmade crafty items. Announcing that you've a hoard of guns for sale and gloating over the money that you've made from them via Instagram probably isn't the smartest move imaginable, though. Somehow, this disconnect between bright idea and 'Hmm, that's illegal and I could probably be prosecuted for arms dealing,' didn't occur to New York rapper Matthew Best.
Best's candid Instagram shots showing guns and bundles of money were initially spotted by narcotics investigators; from there, a single undercover officer tracked and broke a cross-state gun-running ring comprising at least 19 people and brought in a haul of 254 frearms. Best and his mate Omole Adedji were buying guns from Walter Walker of Sanford, North Carolina, and Earl Campbell of Rock Hill, South Carolina; the guns were brought into New York on cheap bus rides, and then sold for three times what Best and Adedji paid for them via a network of runners.
A rather chuffed Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced the swoop and displayed the seized weapons at a press conference in New York yesterday. The lone officer who bought up every gun Best and his crew put up for sale to prevent them from hitting the streets didn't put in appearance; he has work to do.
I'm not sure that anyone would try to sell a stolen gun on a bus (at least, that's something I'm yet to encounter on a London bus, and I have seen a few odd shenanigans there), so why do it on Instagram?
(Headsup to The Verge)