A Queens man was denied bail Wednesday after federal prosecutors said he made statements online about sending an armed caravan to the U.S. Capitol to engage in violence and threatening the life of a U.S. senator-elect, officials said.
Eduard Florea, 40, a software engineer, was charged federally with being a felon in possession of ammunition after FBI agents and NYPD officers found a hoard of ammunition and knives during a raid on his home Tuesday evening.
In Florea’s Middle Village home, investigators discovered more than 1,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, at least two dozen shotgun shells and 75 military-style combat knives, officials said.
Florea had previously served a year in prison on a weapons charge for illegally transporting into New York City in 2014 semi-automatic weapons purchased on Long Island, Eastern District Assistant United States Attorney Franciso Navarro said at a telephonic hearing in federal District Court in Brooklyn.
Florea was held as a danger to the community and a risk of flight at the hearing by U.S. Magistrate Sanket Bulsara.
Florea was the latest person arrested locally as part of a nationwide sweep for people involved in the break in at the Capitol that forced an evacuation and left five people dead.
Though Florea had talked about sending an armed convoy to the Capitol in graphic detail on the internet, investigators concluded he probably did not do so, officials said.
In denying bail, Bulsara said he would not be surprised if Florea faced additional federal charges based on the information brought out in the hearing and the complaint in the case.
On his social media account on Parler, under the name LoneWolfWar, Florea had threatened the life of newly elected United States senator from Georgia Raphael Warnock, saying "Dead men can’t pass [expletive deleted] laws" and "The time for peace and civility is over…./3 cars full of armed patriots are enroute form NY/3 cars of armed patriots heading into DC from NY/Guns cleaned loaded…got a bunch of guys all armed and ready to deploy…we are waiting for the word," the complaint said.
Florea told investigators that he was trying to become a member of the Proud Boys but had not attended enough gatherings of the group to qualify. But he had gone to Washington in December when some members were accused of vandalizing a Black Church, officials said.
Florea’s attorney, federal public defender Mia Eisner-Grynberg, asked that her client be released on bail because his postings and actions amounted to "blather."
Bulsara replied it wasn’t necessarily "blather" to him, and it was "deeply incorrect to make that suggestion."
In a related development in the investigation into the Capitol break-in, an MTA employee from Westchester, William Pepe, was released on bond Wednsday at a hearing in federal court in White Plains, according to Southern District spokesman James Margolin.
Pepe, who has been charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, did not contest the removal of his case to the federal court in Washington, Margolin said. There, alleged participants specifically charged in the break in are being processed.