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Seaford Weapons Arrest Nets Assault Weapons, Swords
A Seaford man is facing drugs and weapons charges after police seized more than a pound of pot and dozens of other weapons from his home, including assault weapons that featured high-capacity ammunition clips, Nassau County police said.
The Asset Forfeiture Criminal Investigative Rapid Response team and Arson/Bomb Squad detectives descended on 29-year-old Jonathan Erler’s Seamens Neck Road house after arresting him for drug possession during a traffic stop Wednesday afternoon. A Flintlock rifle was also discovered in the backseat, police said.
The search uncovered six assault weapons, including a Ruger Mini-14, a FN Herstal and an AK-47, among others, according to the criminal complaint. Police also recovered dozens of guns, several swords, daggers, brass knuckles, five high-capacity ammunition clips, Chinese throwing stars and armor piercing bullets during the search, police said.
Erler, a licensed handgun owner, was arraigned Thursday on charges of criminal possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a weapon. A judge set his bail at $22,000 bond or $11,000 cash.
Erler made admissions to detectives during the investigation, according to Det. Sgt. Pat Ryder of the Seventh Precinct, but he declined to discuss what was said.
“These are some of the weapons we in the Nassau County Police Department are trying to get off the street,” Dep. Inspector Kenneth Lack, the department’s chief spokesman, said at a press conference. “Certainly the citizens of Nassau County are safer with these weapons off the street.”
Police didn’t say why CIRT—an elite team of 14 officers—performed the traffic stop, citing the ongoing investigation. Lack said there was “no reason to believe,” Erler was planning an attack, but noted the possibility is still under investigation.
Erler was initially pulled over for talking on his cell phone.
Police scattered the arsenal of weapons atop four wooden tables at the Seventh Precinct where they featured two bulletproof vests, a medieval-style axe, .50 caliber bullets and the marijuana they seized from the trunk.
“In light of Sandy Hook and every other active school shooting and the training that we’ve been doing recently with our schools, these are the type of weapons that if they get into the wrong hands they can be used in an active shooter situation, that’s why they’re not acceptable in our society,” Ryder said.
Many of the weapons were concealed in an area inside Erler’s bed that would rise up, making them easily accessible, Ryder added. The handguns and ammunition were spread out throughout the house, he said.
Police said the charges stem from laws preceding New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s gun control measures that passed through the state legislature earlier this month.
In an interesting twist, Erler is the owner of Twisted Glass, a headshop in Wantagh that was recently burglarized for $10,000 worth of bongs, police said. But the two cases are unrelated, Ryder said, adding they have “nothing to do with the other.”
Ryder said there was no indication Erler was using the store to deal drugs.
A search of Twisted Glass didn’t turn up any other weapons, police said.