New York City Seizes Record Number of Illegal Guns

PHOTO: Guns seized by the New York Police Department PlayAndrew Burton/Getty Images
WATCH Stop-and-Frisk Policy Ruled Unconstitutional

At a press conference announcing the seizure of 254 illegal guns, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg referenced a wiretap conversation from the investigation showing that one of the gun traffickers' biggest concerns was the city's controversial "stop-and-frisk" policy.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly read aloud the conversation, in which a gun trafficker discussed his plans to take the "Chinatown Bus" from Charlotte, North Carolina to New York City.

"Yeah, I'm in Charlotte now, I can't take them to my house, to my side of town in Brownsville [Brooklyn]. We've got like, what-cha-ma-call-it, stop and frisk."

The gun trafficker from the wiretap and 18 others have been indicted for transporting the firearms from North and South Carolina, where Kelly said there are weaker gun laws, and then selling them in New York City to an undercover officer.

Police say the officer met with the defendants on more than 45 occasions and would sell the loaded guns within hours of arriving. The firearms seized range from a .22 caliber to assault weapons valued at over $160,000.

"More than 200 guns is an astonishing number of firearms to be recovered by one undercover officer in a little under one year," said Kelly.

As Bloomberg and Kelly addressed the media, most of the weapons seized lay on a table in front of them, illustrating a small victory in the fight against illegal guns.

The mayor is also hoping for a victory in his appeal of a ruling by a federal judge just one week ago, that the NYPD's controversial so-called "stop-and-frisk" policy is unconstitutional.

Bloomberg has said the tactic, which allows cops to search anyone regardless of whether they believe a crime has been committed, is "an important part of [the NYPD's] record of success."

In her ruling, Judge Shira Sheindlin said the policy unfairly targeted blacks and Hispanics. Sheindlin ruled that the policy could continue, but only under strong new restrictions.

New York's mayor and police commissioner refuted the judge's ruling once again at Monday's press conference, applauding the police officers involved in the largest gun seizure in the city's history.

"There is no doubt that this seizure has saved lives," said Bloomberg.

ABC News' Ben Waldron, Josh Margolin, and Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.