Gunrunners smuggled firearms into New York City by stashing weapons in luggage and rode into the city on discount buses, the NYPD said.
Authorities arrested the two suspects and 17 others in connection with the alleged gun trade after an investigation in which an undercover officer bought 254 guns in 45 transactions since 2012, police said.
The NYPD is calling the gun bust the largest in its history. Officials laid the guns on tables at police headquarters to show reports. Among the guns was the most popular 9mm on the streets: a highpoint semiautomatic that police say sells for about $600 or $700.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg called it a stark reminder of the dangers city residents would face without police intervention. He attributed some success in getting guns off streets to the controversial stop-and-frisk program.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was on all the Sunday talk shows defending stop and frisk, saying that doing away with it would result in a rise in crime. In explaining the gun bust operation, he cited a wiretap where a suspect allegedly said he was afraid to take additional weapons to the Brownsville section of Brooklyn because of stop and frisk.
Last week, a federal judge ruled that the NYPD's stop and frisk policy is unconstitutional because it discriminates based on race. Commissioner Kelly says the vast majority of those stopped are black and Hispanic because blacks and Hispanics are overwhelmingly the victims of violent crime as well as the suspects. Former prosecutor Charles Coleman Jr. told Fox 5 that Judge Shira Scheindlin saw it as racial profiling.
The judge ordered reforms to stop and frisk, including the appointment of an independent monitor to make sure the changes are made.
The city is appealing the decision and hoping to get it overturned.