HOLLISTON (CBS) — A 40-year-old man is facing up to ten years in prison for allegedly stockpiling weapons, ammo, and incendiary material and threatening to use them against President Obama, Homeland Security officers, and Muslims, the U.S. Attorney’s office said Monday.
Joseph Garguilo was arrested Saturday morning and charged with being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition. He was ordered held without bail Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court.
Since he had an active restraining order against him out of Wrentham District Court, the U.S. Attorney’s office said, he is not allowed to possess firearms or ammunition.
According to the FBI, a search of Garguilo’s Holliston home found a “weapons trove,” as well as handwritten notes in which Garguilo threatened to attack Muslims.
The FBI says Garguilo was stockpiling mace guns, hunting knives, and the incendiary compound thermite, and that he was gathering parts to build an AR-15 rifle. They said he does not have a firearms identification card, or a license to carry firearms in Massachusetts.
The FBI said their investigation into Garguilo began in July, when a tipster alerted the FBI about him via their website.
According to documents filed in support of the warrant that led to the search, that tipster told the FBI Garguilo said “he will plant bombs in police stations … and kill as many homeland security officers as he can before they kill him.”
He also allegedly said he wanted to “chain a mosque closed and burn it down,” though he did not mention a specific location or time for such an attack.
The FBI said another person told them Garguilo spoke of wanting to attack a mosque and/or kill President Barack Obama, and that Garguilo made a remark that he should have attempted to kill the president when he was golfing on Martha’s Vineyard.
The affidavit states that person told the FBI, “Honest to god, I think he’s gonna snap.”
WBZ security analyst Ed Davis says the FBI reacted at the right time.
“This individual was amassing a significant amount of weapons and incendiary devices that could have really been a problem,” Davis said Monday. “It looks like the police moved just in time to prevent what could have been a fatal assault.”
Neighbors told WBZ-TV, Garguilo lived in the Holliston home for about a decade but because he was so hostile, they stayed away.
“To me, he was a walking time bomb and he was so explosive in his words and his actions and I stayed away from him,” one neighbor said.
They say they heard what sounded like explosives just a month ago.
“We hear these four explosions like ‘boom, boom, boom,’ and it was like a rocket bottle blowing down the street and I’m like ‘what the hell,'” the neighbor said. “The house was shaking.”
Garguilo’s court appearance Monday afternoon was brief, and he had very little to say.
His attorney, Mark Meehan, said in court that he believes the case stems from a custody dispute.
“He’s very distressed over this,” Meehan said outside court after the arraignment. “He denies all these allegations, he denies making any threats to anybody.”
Garguilo waved his probable cause hearing Monday and is due back in court for a detention hearing on Wednesday.