The three Pennsylvania residents who were trying to "rescue" a teenager from Brooklyn but got caught with an arsenal of guns and ammunitions before entering the Holland Tunnel remain in custody, and one of their lawyers is accusing the Port Authority of trampling on his client's Second Amendment rights.
John Cramsey, 50; Dean Smith, 53; and Kimberly Arendt, 29 are being held on numerous gun charges after a Port Authority police search of Cramsey's neon green-red-and-black truck yielded a pump action shotgun, an assault rifle, numerous pistols and thousands of rounds of ammunition (including a clip that said 'Merica), plus body armor, night vision goggles and more. Police say they stopped the vehicle because of a low crack on the windshield; when the officer went to talk to Smith, who was driving, he apparently saw a loaded magazine for a gun and ordered everyone out of the car.
Cramsey's attorney is skeptical of that claim: James Lisa told reporters after the arraignment in Jersey City, "The police officers said they stopped them because they saw a crack in the windshield, but clearly that's not what happened... They saw all the decals and the painting basically espousing their Second Amendment rights and that's why they stopped them."
Lisa also said, "They took a small window crack and turned it into a Fourth Amendment violation. The only reason this bail is this high is because it got all the publicity. My client owns a gun range. Under certain exceptions, he is allowed to transport guns. What happened here is they saw all these people expounding on their Second Amendment rights and they only stop them because they had guns."
The trio's lawyers also objected to the bail—set at $75,000 each, "cash only, with no 10 percent bond option"—but Superior Court Judge Sheila Venable said, "It's not like it's one weapon. I'm looking at all the issues in the case," adding, "This is not Pennsylvania, this is New Jersey. The law does allow for a 10% permission, but these are guidelines. It’s the number of guns. It’s not like it’s one weapon. That is the reason for the bail. And as for the attention surrounding this case. Maybe it could be you’re making such a zealous case because the cameras are here. I’m keeping the bail at $75,000 cash only."
Lisa insisted that Cramsey, a gun dealer and owner of a shooting range, was transporting the guns for legal purposes—though a man in a holding cell with Smith and Cramsey said the pair claimed that the weapons were for a photo shoot and forgotten about—and that NJ had an exception for that. But Cramsey had posted on an anti-heroin Facebook group, Enough is Enough, about a half hour before his Tuesday arrest that he, Smith and Arendt were heading to NYC:
"I'm currently 11 miles outside of Brooklyn New York and going to a hotel to extract a 16 year old girl who went up there to Party with a few friends. One of those friends she went up there with will not be returning . This young lady from Wilkes Barre is scared and wants to come home. Last night she woke to find her friends body next to her in the same bed were her friend died of another heroin overdose. The Child named Janaee Patterson and she is from the Wilkes Barre area. A Facebook message to the Mother and the Brother with no response yet. I'm bringing her out of NY today and anybody else in that hotel that wants to go home too."
Cramsey turned into an anti-heroin activist after his 20-year-old daughter died of an overdose earlier this year; after her death, he told a Morning Call reporter that "he knew the identity of the dealer who sold to his daughter. Cramsey said he had weapons and 'put on body armor' to 'go after this guy.' He told the reporter that his anger ran so deep, he was sure the next time he spoke with the reporter that 'the interview would be in prison.'"
A friend posted on Enough is Enough, "I have known John for 3 years gong on 4 now after we met on FB thought our enthusiast for Military trucks and we both own them so that's how our friendship started and he has always been there when I need to talk to someone or there was a problem. When I was under attack where I live over my military trucks John was there telling me to not give up and I didn't and guess what it got better but ONLY over time. John gets a little excited over stuff but what he was doing was trying to save a life like any normal humans would. Was John going to murder anyone I honestly don't think so and if he off a drug dealer so what."
The mother of the teen who was the target of Cramsey's rescue operation is coming to NYC to get her daughter; she said, "My daughter doesn't do heroin. It was her friend."