Three people from Pennsylvania were arrested Tuesday morning after authorities stopped them in a pickup packed with weapons in New Jersey at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel.
All have ties to our area; two are from the Lehigh Valley and one is from Lehighton. They claimed they were on a mission to rescue a teen from Wilkes-Barre.
The group says they are anti-heroin crusaders and they shared details of their "rescue mission" online.
According to Port Authority police, John Cramsey, 50, from the Lehigh Valley, was in a vehicle stopped by officers at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel for a cracked windshield.
But authorities say inside that vehicle was this cache of weapons, which included several loaded assault rifles, additional 2,000 rounds of ammunition, a military-style helmet and body armor.
Police took Cramsey and the driver, Dean Smith, 53, also from the Lehigh Valley and passenger Kimberly Anne Walker, 29, from Lehighton into custody.
Authorities say the trio told police they were coming to New York to rescue a teenager who was involved with people using heroin.
On Tuesday, Newswatch 16 spoke to people who know two of the people, who are men from the Lehigh Valley.
“I got a call at home saying there was an issue with New York,” said Roy LaPearl.
LaPearl is the manager of the Higher Ground Tactical indoor shooting range in Emmaus and was still in shock after learning the owner of the shooting range was arrested Tuesday morning.
“They called me up from here, I'm the manager here so I ran up here to try and get the store locked down and get all that taken care of right now,” said LaPearl.
“John has been working really hard to help local addicts and addicts everywhere and try to get them into rehab and doing a lot of work through this “Enough is Enough” program in order to help addicts and help save people,” said LaPearl.
Cramsey even posted on Facebook, he was on his way to Brooklyn to save a 16-year-old girl who is from the Wilkes-Barre area.
LaPearl says Cramsey lost his daughter four months ago to a heroin overdose and since then has been a self-proclaimed vigilante against the drug.
“Nothing about gun violence or anything about that, he probably had them in his truck and forgot to take him out of his truck because he gets a call to go help someone and he goes and that's just the way John is,” said LaPearl.
Dean Smith’s address was listed to a home in Whitehall near Allentown.
Smith's neighbor says he wasn't aware if Dean was into guns but does know that Dean has lost friends to drugs.
“I know he just lost a friend recently, not to heroin but to some other pills and alcohol, I know that he's lost some other friends as well,” said neighbor Lou Didona.
Port Authority police say John Cramsey is licensed to have those weapons in Pennsylvania and authorities say this is not linked to terrorism.
All three were charged with weapons possession and are being held in a jail in New Jersey.