Suspected Gunrunner Arrested PDF Print E-mail

Newark – An out-of-state suspect was arraigned this morning on multiple weapons charges following his arrest on Friday by Essex County sheriff’s detectives.

Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated that as part of an on-going investigation into gun trafficking in the city detectives from his department’s Bureau of Narcotics conducted a plainclothes surveillance operation in the area of 21 Leslie Street just before 6:00 p.m.on Friday.

At that time, Sheriff Fontoura said the BON detectives observed as a green 2002 Ford Escape, driven by Joseph Vanbrackle, age 39 of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, pulled up in front of the location. Vanbrackle then exited his vehicle and tossed a large black duffle bag into the bushes in front of 21 Leslie Street.

The BON officers followed Vanbrackle from the scene and detained him near the intersection of Fabyan Place and Shaw Avenue.

Other BON detectives retrieved the duffle bag which was found to contain two military-style assault weapons, a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle and a Colt Sporter rifle, both .223 caliber, and a 12 gauge, Mossberg 500A pump action shotgun.

“The fire-power of these three weapons can be devastating and we have witnessed the carnage caused by these particular guns all too often,” noted Sheriff Fontoura.

Vanbrackle was charged with three counts of the unlawful possession of a weapon and one count of theft of credit cards. The suspect was also found to be the subject of an open warrant issued by the Pohatcong municipal court in Warren County.

At today’s arraignment, Judge Marilyn Williams ordered Vanbrackle held at the county jail in lieu of $60,000 cash bond only.