A Queens man who instructed federal brokers he wished to hitch the far-right Proud Boys group was charged with a weapons offense on Wednesday after messages he posted on social media across the time of the Capitol riot raised alarms, in keeping with prosecutors and courtroom paperwork.
The person, Eduard Florea, had been detained late Tuesday after a search of his dwelling turned up an arsenal of over 1,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, two dozen shotgun rounds, 75 military-style fight knives, two hatchets and two swords, prosecutors stated. No gun was discovered.
The arrest of Mr. Florea, a 40-year-old software program engineer, got here amid an intensifying nationwide manhunt for many who broke into the U.S. Capitol final week as a part of a violent rampage by supporters of President Trump who wished to overturn the election outcomes.
Although Mr. Florea was not one of many quite a few folks being pursued for taking part within the riot, regulation enforcement officers thought-about him menacing sufficient to reach in an armored automobile at his dwelling to arrest him. His lawyer, taking concern with the method, described the automobile as a “navy tank.”
Among the many feedback that triggered the authorities concern and prompted the search of his home, the criticism says, was one through which Mr. Florea appeared to threaten the Rev. Raphael Warnock, Democrat of Georgia, simply earlier than Mr. Warnock was declared the winner of a U.S. Senate seat.
At round 1 a.m. on Jan. 6, whereas posting below the identify “LoneWolfWar” in a gaggle thread about Mr. Warnock on the social media web site Parler, the criticism says, Mr. Florea wrote that “lifeless males can’t cross legal guidelines,” with an obscenity added for emphasis.
Later that day, additionally on Parler, Mr. Florea wrote of getting three automobiles of “armed patriots” in a “caravan” headed to Washington, the criticism says. Because the Capitol riot unfolded, he wrote that the time for peace and civility was over and that “right here in New York we’re goal wealthy.”
“I’ll struggle so assist me god,” he added.
At a bail listening to in Federal District Courtroom in Brooklyn that was held remotely, Mr. Florea’s lawyer identified the F.B.I. had concluded that her consumer, regardless of his on-line bravado, didn’t have a automobile and had not gone to Washington.
Nonetheless, the tenor of his social media feedback was ominous sufficient to intensify the authorities’ curiosity, particularly when matched along with his standing as a felon, in keeping with prosecutors and the criticism.
In 2014, Mr. Florea was discovered responsible of unlawful gun possession after a search of the Staten Island dwelling the place he was residing turned up a stockpile that included a semiautomatic shotgun and an AR-15 assault rifle, a federal prosecutor stated on the listening to on Wednesday.
Mr. Florea purchased the weapons legally exterior New York Metropolis, however was not purported to have them inside the 5 boroughs, his lawyer, Mia Eisner-Grynberg, stated on the listening to. He served a 12 months in jail because of the conviction, she stated.
Mr. Florea is now charged federally with being a felon in possession of ammunition. If convicted, he faces as much as 10 years in jail, prosecutors stated.
Questioned by F.B.I. brokers after he was taken into custody on Tuesday, Mr. Florea stated he supported the Proud Boys, a far-right group that has endorsed violence and Mr. Trump, and had utilized to hitch the group’s ranks, a federal prosecutor stated on the bail listening to.
He instructed the brokers that he had gone to Washington with Proud Boys members in December and had vandalized a church there, however was not but a member of the group as a result of he had not attended the required variety of conferences, the prosecutor stated.
“This isn’t simply rhetoric,” Francisco Navarro, the prosecutor, stated in arguing towards granting Mr. Florea bail. “That is rhetoric backed by motion.”
“Given his willingness to journey to D.C. with criminals, the federal government believes the defendant is especially harmful within the present political surroundings,” Mr. Navarro added.
Ms. Eisner-Grynberg, Mr. Florea’s lawyer, instructed the decide that her consumer didn’t condone the “habits” that had occurred on the Capitol final Wednesday.
“You’ll be able to’t condemn what occurred on the Capitol and hang around with the Proud Boys,” Mr. Navarro replied.
Ms. Eisner-Grynberg argued that Mr. Florea needs to be launched from custody as a result of he had not been charged with making threats on-line and that lots of the statements he had made have been false. She additionally stated the “rhetoric was extraordinarily excessive on all sides” on the day of the riot.
The decide, U.S. Justice of the Peace Decide Sanket Bulsara, rejected that argument forcefully.
“This isn’t mere blather,” Decide Bulsara stated. “And admittedly, I believe it’s deeply incorrect to make that suggestion.”
Siding with the federal government, the decide denied Mr. Florea bail.
In arguing towards releasing Mr. Florea, Mr. Navarro additionally cited a 2014 information article that quoted a prison criticism describing how Mr. Florea had choked his spouse till she practically misplaced consciousness whereas holding their toddler daughter after which had threatened to kill them each with a knife.
Ms. Eisner-Grynberg stated that these allegations had been dismissed. She additionally stated that, after a whole lot of counseling, Mr. Florea and his spouse, who now have two kids, had reconciled and that the spouse had no issues about him being at dwelling together with her.
William Ok. Rashbaum contributed reporting.