Alleged subway gun toter held for trial

Posted: August 18, 2012

A Philadelphia man arrested for allegedly carrying a disassembled assault rifle, loaded pistol, knife, and drugs aboard the northbound Broad Street Subway was held for trial Friday on weapons and drug charges.

Jermal Ponds, 28, was ordered to stand trial during a brief preliminary hearing before Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Frank T. Brady after a police narcotics officer said the drugs, guns, packaging bags, and $712 in cash Ponds had with him on July 31 were consistent with someone who sells illegal drugs.

Ponds, of Cedarbrook, remains in custody on $200,000 bail.

Defense attorney Michael Coard argued that the drugs taken from Ponds - 22 pills of the narcotic painkiller Percocet and seven packets of marijuana - could easily be for personal use, not resale.

Coard also told Brady that Ponds legally bought the AK-47 rifle and .38-caliber pistol, though he conceded Ponds did not have a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

Coard said Ponds did not resist arrest and voluntarily made a statement.

After the hearing, Coard called the charges "a lot less than it seems. This was not a situation of a dangerous gunman on the train."

Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline McCauley argued that the evidence against Ponds was enough for him to face trial.

Ponds was arrested at the Fairmount station on the Broad Street line at 5:31 p.m. July 31 after an unidentified caller told police she saw a man carrying a duffel bag of guns boarding the subway at the City Hall station.

In addition to the weapons, SEPTA Police Officer Andrew Maull testified, Ponds had a "banana clip" of 40 bullets for the rifle and a foot-long bayonet. Maull said the prescription label had been removed from the Percocet vial.

McCauley said Ponds told police in his statement that he had bought the guns and Percocet legally and was transporting them from one property to another.

Court records show Ponds was arrested twice before July 31. On June 8, he was arrested for allegedly possessing a small amount of marijuana. The case was resolved in a pretrial diversion program.

Ponds was arrested in September on aggravated assault and firearms charges, but the District Attorney's Office withdrew charges when the complaining witness failed to appear in court.

Contact Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985,, or follow @joeslobo on Twitter.

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