Police arrested a man near O’Hare International Airport over the weekend, after a Wisconsin man’s routine traffic stop sparked a counter-terrorism investigation.
After having been pulled over on Saturday, police say they found Santos Zamora, 32, in possession of an AR-15 rifle and pressure cooker.
Zamora appeared in court Sunday on a felony gun charge, as Cook County Judge John Lyke considered allegations of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
According to prosecutors and police, Zamora was pulled over at around 8 a.m. Saturday because he was driving 20 mph over the speed limit in his 2005 Mitsubishi Galant. During the traffic stop, an officer noticed Zamora had a black gun case in the front passenger seat.
Zamora told the officer he had another gun, a 45-caliber handgun, between his feet and an AR-15 rifle in the trunk. The pressure cooker was also recovered by police in the trunk of Zamora’s vehicle, according to court records.
The alarm over the cooking implement stems from the fact that pressure cookers have been known to be used as explosive devices, as was the case in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
Investigators looking onto Zamora’s traffic stop said they found traces of food inside, and they dismissed the idea that he may have been plotting to use the pressure cooker as a weapon.
However, Zamora did not have an Illinois Firearm Owners identification card, and he also faces traffic violations for speeding and driving without insurance.
Zamora is a graphic designer and father who was in Chicago to visit his newborn nephew, according to relatives who were in court Sunday. They said he had made the plans to visit a gun range with his brother, Roberto Zamora.
“We were supposed to go to the gun range,” Robert said. “He wasn’t familiar with the law in Illinois, he’s been living in Wisconsin.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, out-of-state residents are allowed to have firearms and shoot at local gun ranges in Illinois. However, the law requires weapons to be transported “unloaded, enclosed in a case and not immediately accessible or in a nonfunctioning state.”
At Sunday’s court hearing, Judge Lyke granted Zamora a $5,000 bond. He’s been asked to stay in Illinois until his next court date, scheduled for Friday.
The family of a Wisconsin man who was arrested near O’Hare with an AR-15 rifle and a pressure cooker in his car has described the incident as a misunderstanding https://t.co/B95CVoKjcg pic.twitter.com/ziAFkRwjfn
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) October 9, 2017
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) October 8, 2017
— TODAY’S TMJ4 (@tmj4) October 8, 2017
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