LONG BEACH - A Long Beach ex-felon suspected of carjacking and his brother, an active Marine, pleaded not guilty to possession of an assault weapon last week.Robert Charles Maalea, 38, is charged with one count each of carjacking, assault by a machine gun or assault weapon, possession of a firearm with prior violent conviction, possession of an assault weapon and evading police. His half-brother, Alexander Russell Smith, 21, is charged with one count of possession of an assault weapon. On Dec. 30, at around 8:30 p.m., Maalea allegedly walked up to a woman in a car while holding an AR-15 assault rifle. Prosecutors allege he did not say or do anything, but instead crossed the street and carjacked a vehicle while the owner was nearby. Maalea drove to a parking garage, where he revealed the assault rifle to a second woman, prosecutors alleged. She ran away from the scene. At this point, Long Beach police arrived near the parking garage and Maalea led them on a car chase, officials said. Maalea crashed and tried to flee on foot but was apprehended. During the investigation, police discovered that the assault rifle belonged to Smith, an active Marine out of Camp Pendleton. Maalea's bail was set at $1.2 million and Smith's at $35,000. Both remain in custody. A preliminary hearing for both men was scheduled for Jan. 9.
********** Published: Jan. 9, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 39