Posted June 22, 2016 8:39 PM ET; Last updated June 23, 2016 9:00 PM ET
[Updated June 23, 2016 9:00 PM ET]
This is the tragic young mother-of-two whose fatal heroin overdose sparked the bungled rescue mission that ended in the arrest of three heavily armed Pennsylvania 'drug vigilantes'.
Sierra Schmitt, 20 - mom to four-year-old twin boys - was found dead in bed on Monday morning after she visited New York City to do drugs and party.
Close friend Jenea Patterson, 17, woke up next to Schmitt's body and made a panicked call to her former youth counselor, Kimberly Arendt - one of three self-styled heroin crusaders who set off to try to save her in a monster truck laden with guns.
Arendt, 29, was arrested near the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel on Tuesday along with John Cramsey, 50, and Dean Smith, 53, after cops pulled them over for a cracked windscreen and found a huge cache of firearms and ammo.
'To do that for somebody else's child, I give them all the credit in the world. I just wish they could have got to my daughter in time.'
Schmitt's mother Mandy Powell, 38, sprung to the trio's defense, saying they should not be in jail and said she wished they got to her daughter sooner.
Powell had particular praise for ringleader Cramsey - a shooting range boss who lost his 20-year-old daughter Alexandria in February from an overdose of Fentanyl and heroin.
'He's right - enough is enough,' said Powell, a married rest area worker who raised Schmitt in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. 'We've both lost a daughter and someone has to get on top of this.
'I'd never heard of any of them until their names came up on the news but they have my full support. I'd like to meet them and thank them for trying to make a difference.'
Schmitt and Patterson are believed to have headed to Brooklyn's Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood to meet two men for a weekend of drinking and hard partying.
It is believed that Schmitt was injected with a 'hotshot' - a strong dose of heroin that rendered her unconscious.
'As far as I know they were with two gentlemen,' said Powell, who said she was still trying to piece together the fateful events after speaking to police, the coroner, and exchanging messages with Patterson.
[. . .]
'Jenea told me the two guys made them shoot up,' she added. 'Sierra passed out and one of the guys apparently said: "We're not gonna have much fun with her".
Powell said her daughter went off the rails and turned to drugs and alcohol after losing custody of her twins.
'She loved them as much as any mom could. But she was too young, too immature, and she couldn't cope,' she said.
'After she lost them she started getting wild and going out. She was partying, drinking alcohol - she gave me a run for my money, that's for sure.
'She was hanging out with the wrong people and ended up going to New York more and more because of the fast-paced life.
'She started changing, she got angrier, more demanding - but she would still call me faithfully every day. She was still my loving daughter.
'Sierra never kept anything from me and about half a year ago she told me she used heroin. She had been clean for a month - and then this happened.
'She was outgoing, she loved everyone, but she was too trusting. I just need to know what happened in that room.'
EXCLUSIVE: 'I just wish they could have got to my daughter in time': Mother of 20-year-old whose heroin overdose sparked a rescue attempt that ended in the arrest of three armed 'drug vigilantes' defends the trio as 'heroes, not criminals'
Sierra Schmitt, 20 - mom to four-year-old twin boys - was found dead in bed next to close friend Jenea Patterson, 17, on Monday morning
Schmitt and Patterson had visited New York City to do drugs and party
When Patterson found Schmitt's body, she called her former youth counselor, Kimberly Arendt
Arendt was one of three self-styled heroin crusaders who set off to try to save her in a monster truck laden with guns and were later arrested
Arendt, 29, was arrested near the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel on Tuesday along with John Cramsey, 50, and Dean Smith, 53
The trio is part of a group called 'Enough is Enough' that claims to save heroin-addled kids from pushers
Schmitt's mother Mandy Powell, 38, sprung to their defense, saying: 'These guys shouldn't be in jail - they are heroes not criminals'
By BEN ASHFORD IN WILKES-BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA, FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 15:58 EST, 23 June 2016 | UPDATED: 18:37 EST, 23 June 2016
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[Posted June 22, 2016 8:39 PM ET]
John Cramsey, 50, who runs Higher Ground Tactical in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, was with Dean Smith, 52, and 29-year-old Kimberly Arendt when they were pulled over outside the Holland Tunnel on Tuesday.
Authorities first stopped the group for a cracked windshield, before multiple loaded guns, rifles, knives, ballistic vests and a camouflage helmet were discovered.
When questioned, they described themselves as self-styled vigilantes, according to reports, and were on their way to a Brooklyn hotel where they wanted to 'extract' a teenager from a bad situation that possibly involved heroin.
The trio was detained on the four-month anniversary of the day Cramsey's daughter, Alexandria 'Lexii' Cramsey, died of a heroin and fentanyl overdose.
The 20-year-old girl, who passed away on February 21, was found with her boyfriend, Marquillis Calhoun, who was also dead inside of a Pennsylvania house.
They were detained on the four-month anniversary of the day Cramsey's daughter, Alexandria 'Lexii' Cramsey (pictured), died of a heroin overdose.
Following her death, the father consistently shared posts about it on Facebook and the battle against the drug.
In a post from February, he described himself as 'an addict' for his late-daughter, who worked as a professional model with three agencies in Atlanta, Philadelphia and Mexico.
'Now, I want to personally address the confusion of why we proudly display the 'SHOOT YOUR LOCAL HEROIN DEALER' decals,' Cramsey wrote. 'Who are you to judge me for my opinion.'
'Grow up and either get involved...or get out of here!' he added.
Cramsey also spoke in an interview not long after her death about visiting the place where she died in Allentown.
Just before he was arrested on Tuesday, Cramsey wrote on Facebook: 'I'm currently 11 miles outside of Brooklyn New York and going to a hotel to extract a 16 year old girl who went up there to Party with a few friends.
'One of those friends she went up there with will not be returning.
'This young lady from Wilkes Barre is scared and wants to come home. Last night she woke to find her friends body next to her in the same bed were her friend died of another heroin overdose.
'The Child named [censored] and she is from the Wilkes Barre area.
'A Facebook message to the Mother and the Brother with no response yet. I'm bringing her out of NY today and anybody else in that hotel that wants to go home too.'
Cramsey is believed to have tried to make similar rescues in the past few months.
Cramsey is believed to have made similar 'rescues' in recent months.
A picture of the fluorescent Dodge truck believed to be involved shows it covered with logos for the gun range. A sign in the back window reads: 'We The People'.
When Daily Mail Online reached Higher Ground Tactical by phone, they said they had heard something about the arrest but couldn't comment any further.
Around 2,000 rounds of ammunition were also discovered inside, according to reports.
One of the gun clips had 'Merica' written on and another had 'United We Stand'.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force is assisting in the investigation.
They said there was 'no nexus to terrorism,' according to NBC New York.
Law enforcement sources said they were 'gun authorities.'
Authorities believe the suspects were in possession of the firearms as part of criminal activity, likely heroin related.
Drugs were also found in the vehicle along with the guns, according to one law enforcement official.
One of the suspects allegedly told officers they were on their way to Queens.
A source initially told CBS New York they were going to shoot a rival dealer.
suspects reportedly said they wanted to save a friend who is on heroin and being held against her will in Brooklyn.
Police are still working to verify their story and the investigation is ongoing.
The Holland Tunnel carries Interstate 78 under the Hudson River and connects Jersey City with Manhattan.
It is one of the busiest commuter routes into New York City.
More than 34million vehicles use it every year.
A Port Authority spokesman told Daily Mail Online: 'Astute Port Authority Police work led to the stoppage of a vehicle on the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel this morning, leading to the arrest of three individuals from the state of Pennsylvania on a variety of charges related to illegal possession of guns and ammunition.
'At this time, the investigation is continuing, but the agency does not believe the incident is terrorism-related
'At about 07.40 hours a motor vehicle was stopped by Port Authority Police at the Holland Tunnel, NJ Toll Plaza for an equipment violation (cracked windshield).
'Multiple weapons (Rifles and handguns) some loaded. Under arrest are 2 males in their 50's and a female in her 20's. Charges are pending.'
Revealed: How tragic heroin overdose of model daughter, aged 20, prompted her father to become a self-styled vigilante who attempts to rescue others from the drug
John Cramsey, 50, the owner of Higher Ground Tactical, was arrested
Was driving from Pennsylvania with Dean Smith and Kimberly Arendt
They were heading to pick up another girl in a drug den when they were stopped by officers before reaching the tunnel
Were initially pulled over in New Jersey for a cracked windshield
However cops found a huge collection of weapons and armor inside
Cramsey wrote on Facebook earlier that he was going to 'extract' a girl
Claimed a 16-year-old was from Pennsylvania was scared in Brooklyn
He started fighting against heroin after his daughter died four months ago from an overdose with her boyfriend
By WILLS ROBINSON and REGINA F. GRAHAM FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 16:58 EST, 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 12:17 EST, 22 June 2016