Three Pennsylvanians were arrested by Port Authority police on Wednesday while entering New York City with a small arsenal of weapons.
All of them are currently in Hudson County Jail and have been charged with illegal possession of guns and ammunition.
Five pistols, an AR-15 assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, six knives and body armor were allegedly found in their truck.
— Marc Santia (@MarcSantia4NY) June 21, 2016
However, the trio – Kimberly Arendt, John Cramsey and Dean Smith – claimed that they were on a mission to "rescue" a 16-year-old girl from heroin dealers in New York.
"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… I'm bringing her out of NY today and anybody else in that hotel that wants to go home too," Cramsey said in a Facebook post on the page of the anti-heroin group "Enough is Enough" a day before his arrest.
Cramsey lost his daughter to a heroin overdose four months ago. Since then, he has been attending town hall meetings across the Lehigh Valley to create awareness about the heroin epidemic in Pennsylvania.
According to a report in the Washington Post, Arendt’s mother, Michelle Plocinik, stated that the trio’s true intention was not terrorism but helping the teen.
Policinik said that her daughter got together with Cramsey, owner of the truck and a gun range, after she received a text message from a girl who said she was on heroin and in trouble.
"I know for a fact they weren’t going to shoot anybody," Plocinik said.
The arrest came nine days after US born citizen Omar Mateen opened fire at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people.
The gunman was armed with a high-powered assault weapon similar to the one found in the truck.
Policinik said that she understands public concerns over the guns, but said the authorities are wasting time.
"They are going after the wrong people. These people were trying to help people on drugs. Now they are all sitting in jail."
Meanwhile, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its annual report on drug use worldwide on Thursday.
According to the World Drug Report 2016, the number of heroin users in the United States has tripled since 2003.
In 2014, the number of people using heroin reached about one million.
"There is really a huge epidemic [of] heroin in the US," said Angela Me, chief researcher for the report.
Me stated that a cheap supply of heroin has helped increase the number of users, increasing drug-related deaths.
The increase in the number of heroin-related deaths might also be linked with US legislation introduced in recent years, which makes it harder to abuse prescription drugs such as oxycodone, a painkiller that can have similar effects to heroin, Me added.
The law required a change in the texture of such pills in order to make it more difficult to crush them and inject them into the bloodstream.
"This has caused a partial shift from the misuse of these prescription opioids to heroin," Me said.