NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Authorities have broken up a gun pipeline that allegedly used discount Chinatown buses to transport illegal weapons from Florida, officials announced Wednesday.

An investigation, dubbed “Operation Midnight Run,” was launched in the spring.

Investigators found the firearms were often stored in the luggage compartments of the buses and transported to New York from Florida, where they were purchased at various gun shows, officials said. Many were resold for up to four times the original price, officials said.

The NYPD and Schneiderman said they identified Natasha Harris, of Brooklyn, as the ringleader who brought family members with her for the gun buys.

“Harris, along with her grandmother and two young children, attended the Orlando gun show and the Bunnell, Fla., gun show and purchased several guns at each show,” Schneiderman said.

Harris used a courier to move the suitcase of guns to the Orland bus depot, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

In late October, investigators stopped a Star Line bus at the Joyce Kilmer rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike and found a suitcase containing 33 firearms, officials said.

“Gun-trafficking rings fuel the epidemic of gun violence that is killing children and families across New York and the United States,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “We must do absolutely everything in our power to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of criminals.”

“This investigation demonstrates the demand for illegal guns in our city and the continued commitment of the New York City Police Department and the New York Attorney General’s Office to intercept these weapons before they are used to commit violent crimes,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a statement. “Thanks to these collaborative efforts, we very likely prevented a life from being taken by one of these firearms.”

More than 70 weapons have been seized, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.

In less than three months, one undercover investigator was able to buy 33 guns from the ring in Brooklyn, officials said.

In total, eight people have been arrested and charged with numerous counts of conspiracy, criminal possession and criminal sale of firearms.

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