Police uncover weapons cache

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Police said they found an arsenal of guns, homemade bombs, ammunition and explosive powder inside a Beaver County home occupied by two convicted felons early yesterday.

There was no indication of what the two men intended with the weaponry -- if anything. They had no violent offenses on their records, apparently, but the combustible mix of individuals and devices was enough for Franklin Township police to arrest the pair while continuing to investigate. They were assisted by U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents and the Allegheny County bomb squad.

The bomb squad spent much of yesterday removing the cache from the two-story home of Dean Alan Huzinec on Fire Street in a quiet, residential section of the township near Ellwood City.

Franklin police called for expert assistance after stumbling upon the collection of guns, rifles and ammunition, along with surveillance cameras and military and police uniforms, all of which were confiscated. Narcotics and drug paraphernalia were also allegedly found.

Officer Dean Custozzo said the full contents of the home were still being inventoried and nothing from the outside would have caused any suspicion about what Mr. Huzinec, 47, possessed. He was arraigned and sent to the Beaver County Jail along with Dean Timothy Eakin, 43, a visiting friend and transient who had been living with a sister in the Warren, Ohio, area.

"Everyone wants to know why," in terms of reason for the weaponry, Officer Custozzo said. "We're not getting any whys out of them."

Both men have criminal histories, which is part of what prompted the investigation and charges against them.

Franklin Officer Kevin Radford visited Mr. Huzinec's residence Saturday night to follow up on a missing persons report that Mr. Eakin's sister had filed concerning him. The officer said he spotted a 9 mm gun inside the residence, memorized the serial number, and in checking records found that the gun had been stolen and Mr. Huzinec had a criminal past that made it illegal for him to possess it.

Officer Custozzo said Mr. Huzinec had prior convictions in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Texas for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and illegal possession of firearms, although nothing of the magnitude of what was inside his Franklin home. He said Mr. Eakin was also a convicted felon, for DUI and narcotics violations.

A police affidavit said Officer Radford obtained a search warrant at 1:15 a.m. yesterday and officers returned to the home to find a .357-caliber Magnum on Mr. Huzinec and two other guns nearby. After a search discovered more firearms, ammunition, black powder, smokeless powder and fireworks, they requested assistance from the bomb squad.

"We backed off and let the experts handle it. They went through everything," Officer Custozzo said.

According to the affidavit, "multiple assault type weapons were found, various handguns, altered firearms and unlawful possession firearms, ammunition for those weapons, homemade incendiary devices and military type incendiary devices."

Also present was video and audio surveillance equipment, which Officer Custozzo said enabled Mr. Huzinec to see people coming and going outside.

District Judge Janet Swihart set a straight cash bond of $100,000 for Mr. Huzinec on charges of carrying a loaded weapon, owning a firearm as a former convict, criminal conspiracy, receiving stolen property, risking catastrophe, carrying firearms without a license, possession of a prohibited offensive weapon and instruments of crime, and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Mr. Eakin's cash bond was set at $40,000 on charges of criminal conspiracy and having a firearm as a convicted felon.

Relatives of the two men who were reached yesterday were unaware of the charges and at a loss to explain the weaponry.

Mr. Eakin, an Army veteran, did not have his own home and apparently had been doing electrical work in Ohio, according to his father. Mr. Huzinec was on disability from a back injury suffered years ago, family members said. He had no military service.

"I knew he had a lot of guns. He's a hunter ... but the explosives, I don't know nothing about that," said his aunt, who did not provide her name.

More arrests are possible relating to former occupants of the home as the investigation continues, Officer Custozzo said.

Gary Rotstein can be reached at grotstein@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1255.


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