A pair of gunrunners smuggled firearms into New York City by hiding them in luggage they carried on discount buses offering cheap fares and lesser odds of getting caught, authorities said Monday.

The men were caught in a police sting that netted 254 weapons in 45 transactions since last year - the largest total from a gun case in recent memory. One of the guns was an assault rifle that was disassembled and transported in a girlfriend's zebra-striped bag, authorities said.

The alleged smugglers, Walter Walker and Earl Campbell, were among 19 people arrested in New York, North Carolina and South Carolina as the result of a 10-month investigation. Also charged was an operator of a Brooklyn music recording studio where authorities said some of the deals took place.