Suspects in Holland Tunnel weapons bust said they were out to rescue girl from ‘drug den’
Three people were arrested on Tuesday morning with an arsenal of weapons, including a military-style assault rifle, after police stopped them near the Holland Tunnel, a major crossing that connects New Jersey and New York City.
Police pulled over a vehicle for a cracked windshield at a toll plaza on the New Jersey side around 7:40 a.m. ET (1140 GMT) and found several guns inside, according to a spokesman for the Port Authority Police Department, which patrols the tunnel.
Police recovered five pistols, an AR-15 assault rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun, as well as a small amount of marijuana and a marijuana pipe, according to the Port Authority. Some of the guns were loaded.
John Cramsey, 50, Dean Smith, 53, and Kimberly Arendt, 29, all from Pennsylvania, were charged with weapons possession and drug paraphernalia charges.
“At this time, the investigation is continuing, but the agency does not believe the incident is terrorism-related,” said the Port Authority spokesman, Joseph Pentangelo.
Local news outlets, citing law enforcement sources, reported that Cramsey told police he was driving to New York City to rescue a young girl from a drug den.
Police also recovered several knives, extra ammunition, body armor and a camouflage helmet from the vehicle, local media reported.
U.S. law enforcement, including New York City’s massive counter-terrorism apparatus, has been on high alert since a gunman killed 49 people at an Orlando gay nightclub on June 12 in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
New York has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, including a ban on military-style assault weapons that on Monday survived a U.S. Supreme Court challenge.
Those weapons have sometimes been used in mass shootings, including in Orlando and in the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre that killed 20 children and six adults.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Dan Grebler)