Swansea Police arrest suspect with loaded gun and bulletproof vest


SWANSEA, Ill. – A traffic stop in Swansea led to the discovery of a stack of loaded guns and a suspect who police say was wearing a bulletproof vest. Police released photos of the items seized during the traffic stop on I-159 North in Swansea on Saturday.

Investigators say 44-year-old Joel Desus Diaz, of Swansea, was wearing a bulletproof vest and had at least six loaded handguns, high-capacity magazines, ammunition and a small amount of marijuana in the back seat of the car.

“While officers were conducting a traffic violation, they made contact with the driver. They noticed several things inside the vehicle that led them to search the vehicle,” Chief Matthew Blomberg said. .

After the arrest, a search warrant was executed and more weapons were found at Desus Diaz’s home.

“We have long guns, pistols, rifles, handguns, ammunition, shotguns, bullets, pistol ammunition of various calibers. In fact, it was quite overwhelming. The amount he recovered was the highest in my career. I’ve never seen this in 25 years,” Chief Blomberg said.

The police chief says the officer who made the discovery should be commended.

“He’s very aggressive and we recover guns all the time, but the fact that there are one or two that we recover a high number of guns and the amount of ammunition is very concerning to us,” Chief Blomberg said.

The St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Desus Diaz with six counts of unlawful use of a weapon while wearing a bulletproof vest, the most serious felony in Illinois, and one count of unlawful use of a firearm.

“It’s a gun, right? Most people think that guns can be used at shooting ranges or for personal defense. Guns have those rights, but in Illinois, who can own a gun? There are laws about how it can be transported, and unfortunately in this situation this man violated many of those laws,” Chief Bromberg said.

At this time, officers say it is unclear what the suspects intended to do with these weapons, but the case has been presented to the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office, which has led to charges.

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