Two of three Pennsylvania residents arrested last summer about to enter New York in a pickup truck with a cache of weapons, allegedly on a trip to rescue a teenager from a drug den, have struck a deal to avoid trial.
The development was divulged during a court hearing Wednesday for the third defendant, John Cramsey, an anti-drug activist whose daughter died of a drug overdose last year.
Kimberly Arendt, of Lehighton, and Dean Smith, of Whitehall, were arrested with Cramsey last June after police pulled them over as they approached the Holland Tunnel. Police recovered weapons including a semi-automatic military-style rifle, a shotgun and five handguns, along with other tactical gear.
Assistant Hudson County Prosecutor Tom Zuppa said Wednesday that Smith and Arendt have been accepted into a pretrial intervention program, which is a probationary program that, if completed successfully, can lead to charges being dropped.
Cramsey, of East Greenville, has already rejected a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for at least 3½ years. He was previously rejected for pretrial intervention by the Hudson County prosecutor's office, but his attorney, James Lisa, said Wednesday he would reapply based on the decision regarding Arendt and Smith.
In audio played Wednesday at a hearing to determine which evidence will be allowed if Cramsey goes to trial, Smith told investigators that during the trip to New York Cramsey told Arendt to load a shotgun and shoot anybody that followed them on their way back.
He also characterized Cramsey as "a danger to himself and others."
"If he's telling some girl to load a shot gun and shoot somebody, he's a menace to society," Smith was heard saying on the recording.
Lisa contested Smith's account.
"I'm really interested in what Ms. Arendt has to say about that, and I'm wondering why her statement wasn't introduced," he said.
Cramsey had posted online last June that he was heading to New York to "rescue" a girl whose friend had overdosed. The girl died of an overdose in Pennsylvania in January, according to her father.
Smith, a graphic designer and videographer who told investigators it was the first time he'd accompanied Cramsey on a rescue mission, was driving Cramsey's neon-painted truck when the group was stopped. According to police, the vehicle was pulled over because it had a crack in its windshield and had some objects hanging from a rearview mirror.
The defendants have contended the windshield problem was a pretense and that they were actually stopped because of the truck's Second Amendment-themed decorations.
New Jersey has more stringent gun laws than Pennsylvania. It doesn't recognize carry permits from other states, and guns in cars must be kept locked and unloaded in a trunk or secure container.