The trio stopped at the Holland Tunnel with a trove of weapons and tactical gear pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday, a day after they allegedly posted to Facebook that they were heading to New York City to "do an extraction" of a girl involved with drugs.
John Cramsey, 50, and Dean Smith, 53, both of Zionsville, Pennsylvania, and Kimberly Arendt, 29, of Lehighton, each face multiple weapons charges, including unlawful possession of a shotgun and handgun, possession of high capacity magazines and transportation of an assault rifle.[[384197261, C]]
The trio appeared in the Hudson County Courthouse in Jersey City, where they made their first appearance since their colorful Dodge was stopped on the New Jersey side of the tunnel for a cracked windshield around 8 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said.
Lawyers for the suspects said the search that uncovered the weapons was illegal and that they planned to challenge the seizure. The three suspects are each being held on $75,000 bail.
Police found a weapons cache inside the truck, which was emblazoned with a photo of the U.S. Constitution and second amendment along with multiple decals that said Higher Ground Tactical -- an Emmaus, Pennsylvania, gun range and shop reportedly owned by Cramsey.
The guns seized included long-range weapons as well as handguns. A camouflage helmet with what appeared to be night goggles was also recovered. The Port Authority and other law enforcement officials said that the trio were gun enthusiasts who had no link terrorism.
Cramsey wrote on Smith's Facebook page early Tuesday that he was driving to New York to "do an extraction" of a 16-year-old girl from a hotel room in Brooklyn after an issue involving drugs, The Associated Press reported. Smith replied, "I'm there."
The Morning Call of Allentown reported that Cramsey allegedly posted to Facebook shortly before his arrest that he was 11 miles outside Brooklyn and that the girl was scared to come home after "she woke to find her friend's body next to her in the same bed were [sic] her friend died from another heroin overdose."
One of the suspects allegedly later told investigators that they were heading to Brooklyn to "rescue" the girl before they were stopped, officials said.
It was unclear what, if anything, the weapons had to do with their plans, but an ammo box that was seized by police had a sticker that read "shoot your local heroin dealer."
Cramsey's 20-year-old daughter died from a heroin overdose four months ago Tuesday and he has since attended town hall meetings around the Allentown area to voice his concerns over the drug epidemic, The Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania, reported.
"This is a plague and we are losing our brightest and most brilliant minds," Cramsey told the newspaper shortly after his daughter was found dead of an overdose with another man inside an Allentown home.
Higher Ground Tactical declined to comment to NBC 4 New York.