A Queens man who told federal agents he wanted to join the far-right Proud Boys group was charged with a weapons offense on Wednesday after messages he posted on social media around the time of the Capitol riot raised alarms, according to prosecutors and court documents.
The man, Eduard Florea, had been detained late Tuesday after a search of his home turned up an arsenal of over 1,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, two dozen shotgun rounds, 75 military-style combat knives, two hatchets and two swords, prosecutors said. No gun was found.
The arrest of Mr. Florea, a 40-year-old software engineer, came amid an intensifying nationwide manhunt for those who broke into the U.S. Capitol last week as part of a violent rampage by supporters of President Trump who wanted to overturn the election results.
Though Mr. Florea was not one of the numerous people being pursued for participating in the riot, law enforcement officials considered him menacing enough to arrive in an armored vehicle at his home to arrest him.
Among the comments that caused the authorities concern and prompted the search of his house, the complaint says, was one in which Mr. Florea appeared to threaten the Rev. Raphael Warnock, Democrat of Georgia, just before Mr. Warnock was declared the winner of a U.S. Senate seat.
At around 1 a.m. on Jan. 6, while posting under the name “LoneWolfWar” in a group thread about Mr. Warnock on the social media website Parler, the complaint says, Mr. Florea wrote that “dead men can’t pass laws,” with an obscenity added for emphasis.
Later that day, also on Parler, Mr. Florea wrote of having three cars of “armed patriots” in a “caravan” headed to Washington, the complaint says. As the Capitol riot unfolded, he wrote that the time for peace and civility was over and that “here in New York we are target rich.”
“I will fight so help me god,” he added.
At a bail hearing in Federal District Court in Brooklyn that was held remotely, Mr. Florea’s lawyer pointed out the F.B.I. had concluded that her client, despite his online bravado, did not have a car and had not gone to Washington.
Nonetheless, the tenor of his social media comments was ominous enough to heighten the authorities’ interest, especially when matched with his status as a felon, according to prosecutors and the complaint.
Mr. Florea is now charged federally with being a felon in possession of ammunition. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Source: Read Full Article