WESTERLY — A Westerly man convicted in 2015 for his role in an armed robbery scheme was arrested last week after the police said they found two semi-automatic handguns in the trunk of his car during a traffic stop.
The man, Victor Tan-Chen, 25, of 11 Narragansett Ave., was charged with possession of firearms by a restricted person, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of marijuana. He was arraigned Monday and released after posting a $14,000 bond.
As part of the conditions for his release, he was referred to pretrial services for monitoring of substance abuse, according to Rhode Island court records.
The police said Tan-Chen was stopped on Spruce Street near its intersection of Narragansett Avenue around 2:30 p.m. Friday after he ran a stop sign. Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said the officer smelled marijuana and could see a bag containing a small amount of it in the center console of Chen's car.
Tan-Chen and a passenger were searched, and a search of the car discovered the weapons in black drawstring bags in the trunk. The guns were a Glock 19 with a loaded 8-round magazine and a Glock 23 with 12 rounds loaded in the magazine. Lacey said officers also seized a single Clonazepam pill, a controlled substance, and 9 grams of marijuana.
Lacey said that, as officers began searching the trunk, Tan-Chen told at first them they would find the guns, but then denied knowing they were there. As he was being booked, the police said, Tan-Chen said he had "found them" but would not elaborate.
Tan-Chen is restricted from gun possession because of a December 2015 conviction of second-degree robbery and second-degree burglary in Norwich. According to court records, he and others were charged in a prostitution-related scheme to rob a Norwich man at gunpoint in November 2013.
Tan-Chen, whose attorney told the courts during sentencing that he "was with the wrong people at the wrong time," pleaded guilty to the charges in December 2015 and was sentenced in January 2016 to serve two years in prison, followed by two years of special parole. It was unclear whether he would face further charges in Connecticut as a result of the recent arrest.
Tan-Chen is due in Washington County Superior Court on July 26 for a felony screening.