UPDATED at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 13 with comment from Army.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY • A felon was caught with 18 guns, many with high-capacity magazines, amid a rape investigation that began last month, the North County Police Cooperative said.
Darkel Deshay Martin, 31, originally caught the attention of police when a woman said he’d entered her home in Charlack on Sept. 27 without permission and sexually assaulted her, charging documents say. Martin has addresses in Charlack and East St. Louis in court records.
During the investigation, members of the North County Police Cooperative and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found Martin, police said. Martin consented to a search of his home, and police and agents found 18 firearms and a bullet-resistant vest. Two were AR-15-type pistols, police said, and both had 100-round drum magazines. One pistol was painted to resemble a light gun — a Nintendo “Zapper” — that is used with a video game system. Two were equipped with what resembled silencers or suppressors, although they were unlikely to function as such, police said. A Glock pistol was equipped with accessories that made it resemble a machine pistol like a MAC-10.
Martin’s lawyer on the state charge declined to comment.
Chief Tim Swope said in an interview earlier this week that the guns were “obviously of great concern with what’s been going on not only in our community but across the country.”
Martin was charged Sept. 28 in St. Louis County Circuit Court with burglary, second-degree rape, armed criminal action and a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Last week, St. Louis County prosecutors sought to revoke Martin’s bond, accusing him of threatening the alleged victim in the rape case. He failed to show up in court and failed to attach a GPS tracker required by the court, and a warrant was issued for his arrest Wednesday.
Martin was also indicted in federal court Oct. 4 on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The indictment says only that he possessed one or more firearms.
He was arrested by the U.S. marshals Wednesday, police said.
Police said that Martin did not tell investigators why he’d amassed the guns, but said the investigation was ongoing. Martin did say that he was a former U.S. Army Ranger, but police said that information had not been verified.
An Army spokesman said that records did not show an Army veteran matching Martin’s name or date of birth.
In an email, a North County Police Cooperative lieutenant said that it was the cooperative’s largest gun seizure since it was formed in 2015, and that it “likely prevented some serious and violent crimes from happening in the St. Louis Metro area.” He also praised the help and cooperation of the ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.