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The FBI Charged A Man Who Allegedly Wanted To Kill Obama And Burn A Mosque

The FBI arrested the Boston-area man allegedly hoarding weapons and materials that could make explosives. The FBI also said it found handwritten notes that threatened “violence against members of the Islamic religion.”

Posted on August 31, 2016, at 4:38 p.m. ET

A mugshot of Joseph Gariguilo from 2015.
Holliston Police Department

A mugshot of Joseph Gariguilo from 2015.

A Boston-area man who said he allegedly wanted to kill President Obama, bomb police stations, kill Homeland Security officials, and burn down a mosque was arrested by FBI agents Friday.

FBI agents found parts for an AR-15 assault rifle, ammunition, magazines, and quantities of chemical material that “can be used to create explosives and incendiaries” at the home of Joseph Garguilo, 48, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.

Federal agents also said they found handwritten notes at Garguilo’s home “threatening violence against members of the Islamic religion,” according to the affidavit.

Garguilo, who lives in Holliston, a town 30 miles southwest of Boston, appeared in federal court on Monday and was charged with being a “prohibited person in possession of ammunition” — allegedly in violation of a restraining order placed on Garguilo by his ex-wife in June, according to charging documents.

In a press release on Monday, the US Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts said the charges, if found guilty, carry “a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000,” but added that “actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.”

According to court documents, the FBI received a tip on July 27 about Garguilo from a woman, identified as Witness 1 in the affidavit, who claimed she was worried about Garguilo because he was “stockpiling food water and other weapons, to include tasers, mace guns, hunting knives and thermite,” a chemical compound that can be used to make explosives.

Witness 1 told the FBI that Garguilo “hates gays, minorities, and the police” and that “he will plant bombs in police stations... and kill as many homeland security officers as he can before they kill him," according to court documents. She also said that Garguilo believes the “structure of America will collapse” and "enter a state of martial law.”

The Boston Globe wrote that Witness 1 is Garguilo’s ex-wife, and has obtained restraining order against him on two occasions, in 2009 and again in June.

Garguilo's attorney, Mark R. Meehan, told reporters outside the federal courthouse that “there’s a long history of false allegations on behalf of the mother of his children,” insinuating that the allegations against Garguilo are related to “ongoing custody issues” involving the couple’s children.

Garguilo's home in Holliston, Massachusetts.
WBZ-TV / Via boston.cbslocal.com

Garguilo's home in Holliston, Massachusetts.

Another individual, identified in the affidavit as Witness 2, claims to have been to Garguilo’s home recently and has seen a “partially assembled AR-15, crossbow and knives,” and stated that Garguilo wants “to attack a mosque and/or kill President Obama.” Specifically, it is alleged that Garguilo said he should have killed President Obama while on the golf course on a recent trip to Martha’s Vineyard.

Witness 2, who is described as a childhood friend, also recalled a conversation with Garguilo where he allegedly expressed a desire to "chain a mosque closed and burn it down" and "burn every motherfucker down in there.”

Witness 1 alleges that Garguilo has a history of drug use and might be using drugs again, while Witness 2 said they believed that Garguilo was using steroids because his muscle mass increased in a short period of time.

Garguilo is being held without bail and is expected to appear in court on Sept. 7.

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