More than 70 illegal guns were seized by New York authorities after an investigation revealed the weapons were being smuggled from Florida.
“The guns that were being sold by this criminal enterprise were not going to the legitimate sportsmen or people who are concerned about public safety,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “They were going to people who were very likely to commit crimes.”
New Jersey State Police stopped a Star Line bus headed for Chinatown in late October and found a suitcase containing 33 guns. The guns — including everything from semi-automatics to Colt revolvers — were purchased legally and would have been resold for up to four times the purchase price, MyFox New York reported.
In a case dubbed “Operation Midnight Run,” investigators allege that Natasha Harris of Brooklyn traveled to a Florida gun show where she bought the firearms and subsequently met with a courier at the Orlando bus depot to hand off the suitcase.
Authorities said Harris would travel down south with her grandmother and children to buy the firearms, often times with funding from a man named Quincy Adams. Undercover agents in Brooklyn purchased some 35 guns in 11 transactions in less than three months.
A total of eight people have been charged in the straw purchasing case and could receive up to 20 years in prison.
“As I understand Florida law, you’re not supposed to be able to buy a gun unless you’re a Florida resident, but there is no requirement that you perform a background check, therefore people can get away with it,” Schneiderman said.