A Queens man who told federal agents he wanted to join the far-right group Proud Boys was charged on Wednesday with a weapons offense after messages he posted on social media to the Times of the riot on Capitol Hill have sounded alarm bells, prosecutors and court documents say.
The man, Eduard Florea, was arrested Tuesday evening after a search of his home revealed an arsenal of more than 1,000 rifle cartridges, two dozen shotgun shells, 75 military-style combat knives, two axes and two swords, prosecutors said. No weapons were found.
The arrest of Mr Florea, a 40-year-old software engineer, came amid an escalating nationwide manhunt for those who broke into the U.S. Capitol last week in part of a violent outburst of supporters of President Trump who wanted to overturn the election results. .
Although Mr. Florea is not one of the many people prosecuted for participating in the riot, the police considered him threatening enough to arrive at his home in an armored vehicle to arrest him.
Among the comments that worried authorities and prompted the search of his home, the complaint says Mr Florea appeared to threaten Georgia Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock just before Mr Warnock was declared the winner of a Senate seat American.
At around 1 a.m. on January 6, when he posted as “LoneWolfWar” in a group discussion thread about Mr. Warnock on the social media website Speak, the complaint indicates that Mr. Florea wrote that “Dead men cannot pass laws,” with added obscenity to emphasize.
Later that day, also on Speak, Mr Florea wrote that he had three “armed patriots” cars in a “trailer” bound for Washington, according to the complaint. As the Capitol Riot unfolded, he wrote that the days of peace and civility were over and that “here in New York we are rich targets.”
“I’m going to fight so help me my God,” he added.
In a bail hearing in Brooklyn federal court held at bay, Mr Florea’s attorney pointed out that the FBI had concluded that his client, despite his online bravado, did not car and had not been to Washington.
Nonetheless, the tenor of her social media comments was worrying enough to heighten authorities’ interest, especially when it matches her criminal status, prosecutors and the complaint say.
Mr. Florea is now accused at the federal level of being a criminal in possession of ammunition. If found guilty, he faces up to 10 years in prison, prosecutors said.