Failed Tag Light Leads to Convicted Felon Carrying Assault Rifle and Ammunition
FlaglerLive | May 25, 2016
Rookie Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy Daniel Malta—who hails from a long line of law enforcement officers—must’ve been keeping up with Supreme Court opinions, particularly that of two weeks ago that reinforced cops’ authority to pull over anyone whose tag light is amiss. That was the case with Gegxan R. Coriano, a 41-year-old convicted felon arrested late Monday night in the Mondex for illegally having an assault rifle in his possession, among other charges.
Malta spotted Coriano’s white Mitsubishi driving east on Mahogany Boulevard just after 11 p.m. Monday, with an inoperable tag light. Malta followed and pulled him over. Coriano was driving the car, with Lucy Coriano, 46, as his passenger. Gegxan Coriano did not speak English, but Lucy did. She translated the encounter.
Gegxan had no driver’s license. It had been revoked (he faced drug charges in Osceola County last fall). He didn’t get a citation for the tag light, but he did get one for driving on a revoked license. Malta, by then joined by another deputy, asked and got permission to search the car. When a deputy asked Gegxan whether he had anything illegal in his possession, he “shoved his hands into the pocket of his jacket, pulled a green container from his right front jacket pocket and threw it into the open field on County Road 305 in an attempt to discard the container,” his arrest report states.
Deputies moved in to detail Gegxan, but he allegedly got away from their grip and “took an aggressive stance,” prompting the deputies to use more force to “roll” him onto his stomach and handcuff him. Deputies found the container. In it was what to the cops appeared to be pot. During the altercation, the report states, Gegxan had also dropped a bag allegedly containing four pot joints.
A further search of the vehicle revealed “a Century Arms .223 caliber assault rifle,” the report states, along with a magazine and a dual drum magazine for the weapon, with ammunition in each. The firearm, which a subsequent sheriff’s report described as an “AR-15 style rifle,” was in the trunk of the car. Lucy Coriano told the cops that she had been unaware.
Gegxan, a resident of 2732 Laurel Avenue in Bunnell, did not hear his Miranda rights, as he did not understand English (though a language barrier is generally not a reason to forego such steps). He was charged with resisting arrest with violence and tampering with evidence, each a third-degree felony, three counts of possession of a firearm or weaponry as a convicted felon—second-degree felonies—a misdemeanor count on the pot possession and a second-degree misdemeanor count for knowingly driving without a license.
Bond was set at $23,000, which he posted. He was released.