Body armor and loaded guns found in vehicle during traffic stop, police say

A Missouri man is facing seven felony charges after police say he was stopped Saturday in Illinois while carrying loaded weapons and wearing body armor while driving.

The vehicle driven by Joel De Jesus-Diaz also contained “multiple loaded high-capacity magazines, loose ammunition, and a small amount of cannabis,” according to a statement from the Swansea, Illinois, Police Department.

Joel De Jesus-Diaz - Swansea Police Department
Joel De Jesus-Diaz - Swansea Police Department

De Jesus-Diaz faces six counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon with body armor and one count of unlawful use of a firearm projectile, according to St. Clair County court records.

He is being held in jail without bond, according to jail records. An attorney for De Jesus-Diaz was not listed, and CNN was unable to reach the public defender’s office Thursday afternoon.

Swansea is about 15 miles from St. Louis, where police say De Jesus-Diaz lives.

The discovery during a traffic stop comes as the nation continues to grapple with mass shootings, including those in which shooters have worn body armor and attacked public places with weapons caches.

De Jesus-Diaz was pulled over last week a few hours before the start of a St. Patrick’s Day parade and block party in neighboring Belleville, but police have not connected the arrest to that event or stated whether they have a suspected motive in the case.

Weapons found inside the vehicle De Jesus-Diaz was driving included an AK-style rifle, two short rifles and three semi-automatic pistols.

“It’s very concerning when you come across that caliber of weapons, the number of weapons or the amount of ammunition,” Swansea Police Chief Matt Blomberg told CNN affiliate KMOV.

The charging document says De Jesus-Diaz, “had not been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card.”

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