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Failed Tag Light Leads to Convicted Felon Carrying Assault Rifle and Ammunition

| May 25, 2016

Gegxan Coriano. assault rifle

Gegxan Coriano.

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 It had been revoked (he faced drug charges in Osceola County last fall).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.

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24 Responses for “Failed Tag Light Leads to Convicted Felon Carrying Assault Rifle and Ammunition”

  1. dave says:

    So what reason did they have to search his car in the first place? A tag light out? That’s a reason to search a car? What a joke.

  2. JohnLaw says:

    Any good defense attorney would get any confession thrown out due to an attempt at Miranda with a language barrier. Also, a tag light being inoperable has been probable cause to stop a vehicle for as long as I’ve been a cop, which is nearly 10 years. I’m surprised FlaglerLive didn’t defend this guy for being harassed over a weed charge.

  3. M says:


    As it stated, he requested to search the vehicle to which they agreed. Not just because he had a tag light out. Law enforcement can ask anyone if they would consent to a vehicle search on any traffic stop so long as they had probable cause to initiate the stop.

  4. Fredrick says:

    Dave, No that was not a reason to search however the drivers conduct provided probable cause. They also asked for permission and it was granted. He tossed stuff into a field… what more probable cause do they need?

  5. GM2 says:

    On the Ball Deputy Malta – like father, like son. Good work.

  6. Geezer says:

    JohnLaw makes a point about having a good defense attorney.
    But that takes serious cash…..I don’t think that Gegxan Coriano
    has any real equity to take out some serious coinage against.

    When the cops pull me over, I’m pleasant and offer my license,
    and it always becomes a pleasant chat.

    But then again, I can’t carry credit cards due to my magnetism.

  7. David B says:

    I believe our law enforcement should be bilingual. Most of us are here in Florida.

  8. Robert says:

    1) Does not speak english, but had a (revoked) drivers license? How do you get a drivers license without speaking english? 2) Had the $23k to post bond…where did this come from? 3) Took an aggressive stance – another upstanding citizen who does not respect society.

  9. Mondex Mike says:

    A magazine and a dual drum magazine for the weapon, with ammunition in each……Well that’s about 30 rounds plus 100 rounds for each drum. So 230 rounds….Let me guess, he was deer hunting at night !!!!

  10. Concerned Citizen says:

    Hello? Tossed out, no one cares he’s driving around with a assault rifle as a convicted felon? I suppose that was only for target practice!

  11. Flogrown says:

    David B. How about the other way around…move to the States you should speak English.
    I am Florida born, and I am not bilingual. I wouldn’t go as far to say “most of us are.”

    Robert great question, how did he get his license without speaking English?

  12. footballen says:

    This poor guy had already been thrown into an american prison probably for not speaking English. Now he got out and bought what he thought was some spanish tea. The white kids down the street probably vandalized what was a perfectly maintained vehicle and the cop probably saw that he was of Hispanic decent and was motivated to pull him over. He probably had the gun in his trunk because he speaks only spanish and thought he was purchasing a tool to assist in his craft or trade mistakenly. Once the cop had him pulled over he suddenly realized that some cops do not like people who carry their tea in small increments in their jacket pocket so he tossed it to be polite. As far as the aggressive stance goes he was only doing a spanish type greeting that was meant no harm towards the officers. Gosh

  13. Brian says:

    Obama’s immigration policy in action once again.

  14. Gray Eagle says:

    I disagree this is America we speak American.And believe in law and order.

  15. SAY NO TO TRUMP says:

    We are all (with exception of Native Americans) a product of immigrants Brian.
    Do a family tree some day. You may be surprised to see where YOUR ancestors migrated from…..maybe Mexico!!!

  16. Geezer says:

    I agree with Gray Eagle! This is America and we all had better speak American.
    Below is just a sampling of American languages.
    Notice that English isn’t listed–it’s not American–it’sBritish


    I like Law and Order too. It was never the same without Jerry Orbach however.

  17. woody says:

    It does not matter where your from,your ancestors migrated from.Know some of the language in the country that you live in.Back in the day you HAD to speak English or you where not let in.People live in this country 50 years and don’t speak a word of it and get mad at you because you can’t understand them.

  18. Sherry says:

    @ Woody. . . while I agree that everyone should learn the language of their chosen country. . . please define “back in the day” and cite where speaking English was required to immigrate to the USA . . . back in that day. Over 4 million LEGAL immigrants came through Ellis Island between about 1880 and 1920 and many, many of them could not speak English:

    Facts. . . they just keep getting in the way of prejudice and racism!

  19. woody says:

    Sherry,My father in law came from Germany in 1961.He had to have a trade,money and speak reasonable English before he even arrived at Ellis Island.He also had to take a physical.learn the pledge of allegiance.Now you hide in a truck or float over and get instant benefits.

  20. VThaRula says:

    Tag light out and u got permission to search the car??? I highly doubt hat I’ve been in plenty situations were I said no n they just put on gloves and still go rite in or threaten u with the dog that scratches ur car n hits were they want him to.. It’s all bullshit and all these charges are a joke a good lawyer will move to suppress evidence due to unlawful search n ceasure plus language barrier.. I mean common sense do u really think the guy said go ahead search my car knowing he’s a fellon with an AR in the trunk.. No way in hell he said that.. So all these dumb attempts for cops to be justified are just silly and funny lookin.. I shida became an attorney just for cases like this.. I’d take em on for free

  21. VThaRula says:

    And btw for all u fools American is not a language lol that’s y most of ppl are immigrants or bilingual cuz if u only speak “American” then u don’t even know proper English.. N that’s a shame on you kinda thing haha

  22. Donald trump for president says:

    Awesome job Malta thanks for protecting our city.

  23. Sherry says:

    @ Woody, since Ellis Island closed in 1954, I guess your father in-law immigrated through another channel. Immigrants to the USA (legal or illegal) do not automatically receive government benefits. There are many myths that are used to create hatred towards other human beings. Perhaps this information will give you a more balanced. . . dare I say it . . . more open minded view:

    Ten Myths About Immigration

    Blogs and Articles: Immigration
    Number 39: Spring 2011
    Editor’s note: While originally published in 2011, this story was updated in 2015 to reflect current statistics, policies and conditions in the United States. Click here for a detailed list of sources.

    Myths about immigration and immigrants are common. Here are a few of the most frequently heard misconceptions—along with information to help you and your students separate fact from fear.

    When students make statements that are mistaken or inaccurate, one response is to simply ask, “How do you know that’s true?” Whatever the answer—even if it’s “That’s what my parents say”—probe a little more to get at the source. Ask, “Where do you think they got that information?” or “That sounds like it might be an opinion and not a fact.” Guide students to find a reliable source and help them figure out how to check the facts.

    1. Most immigrants are here illegally.
    With so much controversy around the issue of undocumented immigrants, it’s easy to overlook the fact that most of the foreign-born people living in the United States have followed the rules and have permission to be here. Of the more than 41 million foreign-born people living in the United States in 2013, about 30 million were naturalized citizens, permanent residents and legal residents. Eleven million were unauthorized immigrants. Of those who did not have authorization to be here, about 40 percent entered the country legally and then let their visas expire.

    2. It’s just as easy to enter the country legally today as it was when my ancestors arrived.
    Ask students when their ancestors immigrated and if they know what the entry requirements were at the time. For about the first 100 years, the United States had an “open immigration system that allowed any able-bodied immigrant in,” explains immigration historian David Reimers. The biggest obstacle would-be immigrants faced was getting here—some even resorted to selling themselves into indentured servitude to do so. Today, there are many rules about who may enter the country and stay legally. Under current policy, many students’ immigrant ancestors who arrived between 1790 and 1924 would not be allowed in today.

    3. There’s a way to enter the country legally for anyone who wants to get in line.
    Ask students if they know the rules to enter the country legally and stay here to work. The simple answer is that there is no “line” for most very poor people with few skills to stand in and gain permanent U.S. residency. Generally, gaining permission to live and work in the United States is limited to people who are (1) highly trained in a skill that is in short supply here and offered a job by a U.S. employer, (2) escaping political persecution, (3) joining close family already here, or (4) winners of the green-card lottery.

    4. My ancestors learned English, but today’s immigrants refuse.
    Ask students to find out how long it took for their ancestors to stop using their first language. “Earlier immigrant groups held onto their cultures fiercely,” notes Reimers. “When the United States entered the First World War [in 1917], there were over 700 German-language newspapers. Yet, German immigration had peaked in the 1870s.”

    While today’s immigrants may speak their first language at home, one-half of those older than 5 speak English “very well” according to research by the independent, nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. And the demand for adult ESL instruction in the United States far outstrips available classes.

    5. Today’s immigrants don’t want to blend in and become “Americanized.”
    Ask students what it means to blend in to American society. Nearly 655,000 people became naturalized citizens during the 2014 fiscal year. They had to overcome obstacles like getting here, finding a job, tackling language barriers, paying naturalization fees, dealing with a famously lethargic immigration bureaucracy and taking a written citizenship test. This is not the behavior of people who take becoming American lightly.

    The reality is that the typical pattern of assimilation in the United States has remained steady, says Reimers. “The first generation struggled with English and didn’t learn it. The second was bilingual. And the third can’t talk to their grandparents.” If anything, the speed of assimilation is faster today than at any time in our past, mainly because of public education and mass media.

    6. Immigrants take good jobs from Americans.
    Ask students what kinds of jobs they think immigrants are taking. According to the Immigration Policy Center, a nonpartisan group, research indicates there is little connection between immigrant labor and unemployment rates of native-born workers. Here in the United States, two trends—better education and an aging population—have resulted in a decrease in the number of Americans willing or available to take low-paying jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, close to 26 million foreign-born people, or 17 percent of the country’s labor force, worked in the United States in 2014. These workers are more likely to be employed by the service industry, while native-born workers are more likely to hold jobs in management, professional, sales and office occupations.

    To fill the void of low-skilled American workers, employers often hire immigrant workers. One of the consequences, unfortunately, is that it is easier for unscrupulous employers to exploit this labor source and pay immigrants less, not provide benefits and ignore worker-safety laws. On an economic level, Americans benefit from relatively low prices on food and other goods produced by undocumented immigrant labor.

    7. Undocumented immigrants bring crime.
    Ask students where they heard this. Nationally, from 1990 to 2010, the violent crime rate declined almost 45 percent and the property crime rate fell 42 percent, even as the number of undocumented immigrants more than tripled. According to the conservative Americas Majority Foundation, crime rates from 1999 to 2006 were lowest in states with the highest immigration growth rates. During that period, the total crime rate fell 14 percent in the 19 top immigration states, compared to only 7 percent in the other 31. Truth is, foreign-born people in America—whether they are naturalized citizens, permanent residents or undocumented—are incarcerated at a much lower rate than native-born Americans, according to the National Institute of Corrections.

    8. Undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes but still get benefits.
    Ask students what are some ways Americans pay taxes, as in income tax and sales tax. Undocumented immigrants pay taxes every time they buy gas, clothes or new appliances. They also contribute to property taxes—a main source of school funding—when they buy or rent a house, or rent an apartment. The U.S. Social Security Administration estimated that in 2013 undocumented immigrants—and their employers—paid $13 billion in payroll taxes alone for benefits they will never get. They can receive schooling and emergency medical care, but not welfare or food stamps.

    9. The United States is being overrun by immigrants like never before.
    Ask students why they think this. As a percentage of the U.S. population, the historic high actually came in 1890, when the foreign-born constituted nearly 15 percent of the population. By 2012, about 13 percent of the population was foreign-born. At the start of the recession in 2008, the number of undocumented immigrants coming into the country actually dropped, and in more recent years, that number is stabilizing with little change.

    Many people also accuse immigrants of having “anchor babies”—children who allow the whole family to stay. According to the U.S. Constitution, a child born on U.S. soil is automatically an American citizen. That is true. But immigration judges will not keep immigrant parents in the United States just because their children are U.S. citizens. In 2013, the federal government deported about 72, 410 foreign-born parents whose children had been born here. These children must wait until they are 21 before they can petition to allow their parents to join them in the United States. That process is long and difficult. In reality, there is no such thing as an “anchor baby.”

    10. Anyone who enters the country illegally is a criminal.
    Ask students whether someone who jaywalks or who doesn’t feed a parking meter is a criminal. Explain that only very serious misbehavior is generally considered “criminal” in our legal system. Violations of less serious laws are usually “civil” matters and are tried in civil courts. People accused of crimes are tried in criminal courts and can be imprisoned. Federal immigration law says that unlawful presence in the country is a civil offense and is, therefore, not a crime. The punishment is deportation. However, some states—like Arizona—have criminalized an immigrant’s mere presence.

  24. karenjj2 says:

    FYI for readers that want to share the above useful information

    Ten Myths About Immigration

    Blogs and Articles: Immigration
    Number 39: Spring 2011

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