EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Two men were arrested after being found in possession of an illegal firearm during a motor vehicle stop early Thursday morning.

Just before 2 a.m., a citizen dialed East Haven police to report a suspicious car traveling through their neighborhood, police said. The caller stated the occupants of a dark-colored sedan were seen checking door handles of cars parked in driveways. Police were provided the last known direction the car traveled to.

Upon arrival in the area, Officer Jayqwan Wilkins observed the car in question, a black 2011 Honda Accord stopped in the middle of Laurel Street.

The driver of the Honda Accord noticed the police officer later identified as 19-year-old Christopher Rodriguez-Mitja, continued to drive north on Laurel Street until reaching a dead end, according to the police.

Search underway for suspect who fled Hartford Superior Court

The car came to a stop at the end of Nicole Court and Officer Wilkins made contact with Rodriguez-Mitja of New Haven and his passenger 18-year-old Ron Calderon of East Haven, police said.

Upon further investigation, police discovered several spent 9mm shell casings throughout the car and a loaded 9mm handgun. Due to their age, neither individual was eligible to possess a valid pistol permit or legally carry a handgun, police said.

Mugshots of Christopher Rodriguez-Mitja and Ron Calderon (Images courtesy of the East Haven Department)

Rodriguez-Mitja was charged with the following offenses: carrying a pistol without a permit, carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle, illegal possession of cannabis, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle without insurance, operating a motor vehicle without a license and the misuse of marker plates.

Roy Calderon was charged with the following: carrying a pistol without a permit, weapons in a motor vehicle and illegal possession of cannabis.

The two men were held on $10,000 bonds and are scheduled to appear in court on Sep 7.

East Haven police are issuing a reminder to residents to remain vigilant, lock their cars at night and bring all of their valuable belongings inside.