Beverly felon held on new gun charges

Courtesy Massachusetts State PoliceState police say a search of Justin Hayes' apartment on Blaine Avenue in Beverly turned up guns, ammunition and a body armor vest.

BEVERLY — A Beverly man who was recently released from prison is facing new charges after police found two handguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, high-capacity magazines and body armor in his Blaine Avenue apartment Monday morning. 

The investigation by Beverly police, parole officers and the state police Crime Gun Unit led to the arrest of Justin D. Hayes, 29, of 10 Blaine Ave. at around 7:30 a.m. 

Hayes, who has a lengthy and violent criminal history, was sentenced to two years in state prison back in 2016 for a violent purse snatching robbery in Saugus that left the elderly victim with injuries. At the time of his arrest Monday, officials said Hayes was on parole for an assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. 

As a convicted felon, he was not entitled to own any firearms under the law. 

Hayes was arrested by a state police Special Tactical Operations team as he left his apartment. 

He was then shown a search warrant obtained by investigators on Friday. 

Searches of his bedroom and basement turned up two handguns, a 9 mm Glock 19 and a .380 Smith and Wesson Bodyguard with a defaced serial number; three high-capacity magazines filled with a total of 49 rounds of ammunition; 300 rounds of .38- and .22-caliber ammunition and a body armor vest. 

He was booked on two counts of illegal possession of a firearm; two counts of possession of a large capacity feeding device (two of the magazines); receiving and possessing a gun with a defaced serial number, being a felon with three priors in possession of firearms; possession of body armor in commission of a crime and illegal possession of ammunition, as well as on a warrant charging him with violating his parole.

Hayes had been expected to be arraigned in Salem District Court on Monday, but a problem with the electronics in the holding area at the courthouse led to arraignments of people in custody being postponed until Tuesday.  

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.