Illegal weapons a Seaford man was charged with possessing at his home Wednesday were described during a police press briefing Thursday afternoon as “powerful” and the kind of gun products authorities are focusing hard to take off the streets.
Jonathan Erler, 29, of Seaford was driving his 2004 Subaru northbound on Seaman's Neck Road Wednesday when he was stopped by officers of the Asset Forfeiture Criminal Investigative Rapid Response Team (CIRRT) after he was observed driving while holding a cell phone, according to police.
Cops spotted a Flint Lock Rifle in the rear seat of Erler’s vehicle and during a later investigation at his home discovered six assault weapons, five high-capacity ammunition feeding clips, several Chinese throwing stars and two bullet proof vests. Erler was also charged with possession of marijuana and five ounces of concentrated cannabis, police said.
“Some of the assault weapons he had we’re very high powerful assault weapons, something that we’re trying very hard to take off the street,” said Nassau County Police Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lack, who conducted Thursday’s press briefing at the Seventh Precinct headquarters in Seaford. “Our Criminal Investigative Rapid Response Team has made over 800 arrests since last March. ... They have been out making arrests like this for the past year.”
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Lack also said at the press briefing that Erler is the owner of Twisted Glass on 1898 Wantagh Ave. in Wantagh, which sells a variety of tobacco and pipes, but nothing illegal was found following a search of the store.
Two Wantagh teens were charged in mid January with stealing 19 bongs from Twisted Glass valued at more than $10,000, but Lack emphasized that the two crimes are “unrelated.”
Erler was arraigned Thursday at First District Court in Hempstead and freed on $11,000 cash bail. He faces charges on six counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and third-degree criminal possession of marijuana.