Large weapons cache found in NHP home

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Nassau County police and the Department of Homeland Security are investigating a New Hyde Park man who had a large cache of weapons in his North Sixth Street home.

Police arrested Chandrakant Dhanak, 37, on Saturday after they found nine unregistered assault weapons in his house.

Dhanak also had 23 rifles and five handguns he legally owned, police said in a statement.

Nassau detectives and Department of Homeland Security agents are investigating whether Dhanak, a U.S. permanent resident, has connections to terrorist groups or was smuggling weapons, but so far they have no evidence of either.

“At this time there does not appear to be any type of immediate threat against the public,” said Detective Lt. Richard LeBrun, commanding officer of the police department’s Public Information Office.

Dhanak was arraigned April 10 on nine felony counts of criminal possession of a firearm and released on $5,000 bail LeBrun said. He is due back at First District Court in Hempstead on April 15.

Police notified DHS after receiving an anonymous tip about Dhanak’s weapons collection, LeBrun said.

Dhanak, a four-year resident of Nassau County, consented to a search after Homeland Security investigators and detectives from Nassau’s Special Investigations Squad interviewed him at his home April 9, LeBrun said.

The number of weapons involved and the possibility of weapons smuggling led to DHS’ interest in the case, Deputy Special Agent in Charge Gabriel Garcia said.

Dhanak’s keeping the assault weapons without registering them with the state is a direct violation of the NY SAFE Act, a 2013 state gun control bill, LeBrun said.

It would have been legal for Dhanak to have the guns if he had registered them, LeBrun said.

Investigators are currently uncertain where Dhanak bought the guns or where he may have been trying to smuggle them, LeBrun and Garcia said.

Dhanak came to the United States from India in 1998 as a student, LeBrun said. He has no prior criminal record and is currently unemployed, he said.

Nassau police interviewed him once several years ago and determined he posed no security risk, he said.

Investigators are looking into where Dhanak lived before moving to Nassau County and where he may have traveled since settling in the U.S., he said.

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