Cops arrested three “self-styled vigilantes” headed to New York with loaded handguns, rifles, 2,000 rounds of ammunition, a gun clip that says “America,” and bullet-resistant vests with the word “Police” written on them at the Holland Tunnel early Tuesday, police and sources said.
The trio was stopped on the New Jersey toll plaza for the tunnel at about 7:40 a.m. for driving a vividly colored red, black and green Dodge pickup with a cracked windshield, police said.
When a Port Authority Police officer looked into a window, he saw the magazine for a gun.
An ensuing search turned up five pistols, two rifles (including a shotgun and what resembles an assault rifle), four knives, 10 loaded clips of ammunition, and a military-grade helmet. All the guns were “locked and loaded,” a source said.
Some of the guns were found hidden in a passenger compartment. One of the clips had “United We Stand” written on it, and another had “America” on it.
Police also found drug paraphernalia in the car, and believe all three suspects are heavy heroin users, sources said. They may have been coming to Queens to rescue a woman, also involved with heroin, who was being held against her will, sources said.
The name of an Emmaus, Penn. gun store called Higher Ground Tactical was also written several times on the pickup. A man who answered the phone at the gun store declined to comment on the incident.
“I don’t know what happened,” he said.
Two men in their 50’s, and a woman in her 20’s were arrested, police said. All three are white, sources said.
They were coming from Pennsylvania, police said. Charges are pending.
A Port Authority police spokesman described the officer’s initiative in stopping the car as “astute.”
“The agency does not believe the incident is terrorism-related,” the spokesman said.