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Alpine Man With Fortified Fort Lee Apartment Gets 5 Years, Forfeits Guns

Onn Rapeika remained hidden from a photographer's view during a 2016 court hearing.
Onn Rapeika remained hidden from a photographer's view during a 2016 court hearing. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia

FORT LEE, N.J. -- A former pizzeria owner from Alpine was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to forfeit dozens of guns that authorities found -- along with drugs and compressed gas -- inside a fortified apartment he kept in Fort Lee.

Onn Rapeika waged an online campaign protesting his innocence and accusing law enforcement of corruption -- even filing an $8 million lawsuit against Fort Lee police.

A federal judge last year dismissed the suit and Rapeika pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of an assault weapon in exchange for prosecutors dropping other charges.

He must serve 3½ years of the state prison sentence he received this past Friday before he'll be eligible for parole, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo said.

Rapeika -- a self-described bullion dealer -- also must forfeit all weapons and pay fines, the prosecutor said.

Fort Lee police executing a search warrant for drugs at the Linwood Park Co-op in May 2014 discovered a false wall inside an apartment fortified with steel window bars, high-grade door locks and surveillance cameras.

Behind the wall, they said, were 29 guns — including assault weapons — along with thousands of rounds of ammunition.

During searches that stretched over two days, they also seized a variety of drugs – cocaine, pot, Molly and prescription medications – along with an undisclosed amount of cash and tanks of compressed gas.

The drugs included marijuana wax — a concentrated form of pot made in a lab that contains more than more than 80% pure THC (marijuana’s active chemical), compared with the 20%-30% found in a marijuana leaf, authorities said.

Also found were food rations, a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the raid told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . The rations are made in a lab with butane in a lab -- which police said explained the gas tanks.

Rapeika was arrested nearby and indicted four months later.

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