ELKTON — A Cecil County grand jury has handed up a six-count indictment against a man whom investigators allegedly caught with a loaded handgun — which he purportedly is prohibited from possessing because of his criminal record — during an Elkton traffic stop, according to court records.
Charging documents identify the defendant as Joseph Anthony Bartoletti, 21, of Newark, Del.
Bartoletti is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which is a felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison, if convicted, according to the indictment.
The document also lists a loaded handgun in vehicle, illegal possession of ammunition and possession of bulletproof armor as some of the other charges that were filed against Bartoletti, who, according to court records, is free on a $5,000 bond after spending two nights in the Cecil County Detention Center.
The criminal indictment against Bartoletti stems from a traffic stop that Elkton Police Department Sgt. J. Hoffman made at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 31 in the westbound lane of West Pulaski Highway (Route 40), near the Route 279 intersection, police said.
Hoffman stopped a black 1999 Audi A4, which was driven by Elkton-area resident Christopher James Earl Walker, 23, because the vehicle’s exhaust system was “causing excessive noise,” police added.
The officer noticed an empty holster strapped to Walker’s leg while talking to him, police reported. When Hoffman asked where Walker’s gun was, he replied, “It should be in the back seat, but apart,” according to police.
Hoffman then dispatched for backup and, after fellow officers arrived at the scene, investigators ordered Walker and Bartoletti — who was the front-seat passenger — to exit the car, police reported. A man who occupied a back seat also got out of the vehicle, police said. Although detained at the scene, that man was not charged in this case, police added.
While searching the vehicle, investigators found a Karh P.380 handgun that was inside a holster on the back floorboard, according to charging documents, which further indicate that its magazine was “fully loaded” with six rounds.
Bartoletti admitted ownership of the confiscated handgun, after hearing EPD Ofc. Donnelly ask if the firearm was a Glock, court records allege.
Bartoletti allegedly responded, “No, that’s my Baby; it’s a Karh .380,” according to charging documents.
Before Bartoletti made his comment, Donnelly had repeatedly told the three detainees that “everything was being recorded on body-worn cameras,” court records show.
Bartoletti was arrested at the scene, police said. During a pat-down search, police added, the arresting officer found an additional loaded magazine for the Karh P.380 wrapped in a cloth mask inside Bartoletti’s pants pocket.
A check with the Maryland Gun Center later revealed that Bartoletti is prohibited from possessing firearms because he was convicted of third-degree assault (intentionally or recklessly causing physical injury in a crime of violence) in June 2019, according to charging documents.
Investigators also arrested Walker at the scene and later filed four misdemeanor firearm charges against him, including loaded handgun on person and loaded handgun in vehicle, according to Cecil County District Court records. Scheduled for a Jan. 21 trial, Walker is free on a $2,000 bond, court records show.
At the scene, Walker told investigators that his Sar 9mm handgun was under the passenger’s seat and that he did not recall if the weapon was loaded, police reported.
“The firearm was located . . . loaded with 18 rounds of ammunition, (one) round in the chamber and on ‘fire’, stuffed under the passenger seat between the seat cushion springs,” court records allege.
Investigators also found and seized a “military-style flak vest with full Level III body armor plates” while searching the vehicle, according to charging documents.