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DV Pilot police & fire

Alpine man charged in connection with 29 guns found in fortified Fort Lee apartment

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: An Alpine native whose family owns a Fort Lee pizzeria was indicted by a grand jury in Hackensack on a host of weapons charges in connection with 29 guns — including assault weapons — found along with thousands of rounds of ammunition behind a false wall in an apartment fortified with steel window bars, high-grade door locks and surveillance cameras.

The 17-count indictment charges Onn Rapeika with illegally having:

  • 29 firearms;
  • two Kel-Tec model PLR 16s;
  • a DELTA-9-THC (within 500 feet of a park)
  • a BAL2414 model CDD-15.

Fort Lee police said they discovered the weapons at the Linwood Park Co-op on Fairview Avenue while executing a search warrant in a drug investigation in early January.

They also seized a variety of drugs – cocaine, pot, Molly and prescription medications – along with an undisclosed amount of cash and tanks of compressed gas during searches that stretched over two days.

The drugs included marijuana wax — a concentrated form of pot made in a lab that contains more than more than 80% pure THC (marijuana’s active chemical), compared with the 20%-30% found in a marijuana leaf.

It’s made with butane in a lab, which police said explained the gas tanks.

Thirty high-capacity magazines, along with 43 legal-capacity magazines, were also among the items seized, one law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Also found were food rations, another added.

Fort Lee’s fire prevention unit was summoned “due to the large amount of ammunition and portable compressed gas tanks found in the apartment,” Police Chief Keith Bendul said at the time.

After an inspector investigated, the tanks were removed to eliminate the fire hazard, he said.

During a warranted search of Rapeika’s garage, police reported finding what looked like military ordinance. The search was stopped while the Bergen County Police Bomb Squad was summoned to chck it out. The devices turned out to be harmless, authorities said.

Rapeika was released from police custody after posting $100,000 bail.

STORY: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

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