Middle Village Queens ‘Proud Boy’ busted with ammo stockpile
A far-right “Proud Boy” arrested for stockpiling thousands of rounds of ammo inside his Middle Village home threatened to murder U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and encouraged the killing of liberal politicians in “target-rich” New York, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said Wednesday.
Eduard Florea, a 40-year-old software engineer, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of ammunition after FBI agents searched his home Tuesday and Wednesday. The authorities converged on his house at 76th Avenue near Elliot Avenue in an armored car suited for battle.
Authorities seized 1,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, 2,000 rounds of shotgun ammo, 75 “military-style” combat knives, two hatchets and two swords from the home, according to a criminal complaint. Florea has a past weapons charge is barred from possessing ammunition.
A magistrate judge denied bail at Florea’s arraignment in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday.
“Mr. Florea is a significant danger to the community and is a flight risk,” said U.S. Magistrate Judge Sanket Bulsara. “I think it’s evident in the statements he posted during and after and before Jan. 5 and 6.”
Florea, a self-described Proud Boy extremist used the social media platform Parler to threaten violence against Warnock and other Democrats the day before the attack on the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Francsico Navarro.
Florea did not travel to Washington D.C. for the far-right riot, but cheered on the insurrection and pledged to continue the attack in and around Queens, Navarro said.
“This is not just idle talk. This is not just rhetoric. This is rhetoric backed by action,” Navarro said, noting that Florea had previously visited Washington D.C. for a December rally.
Navarro said Florea is “particularly dangerous in the current political environment, which has already resulted in violence and death.”
Florea posted on Parler several times before and during the Capitol attack that left five dead, including a police officer, according to his criminal complaint.
“Dead men can’t pass shit laws,” he wrote in one post referencing Warnock, the first Black man elected to the U.S. Senate in Georgia.
“Let’s go. I will be reaching out to patriots in my area so we can come up with a game plan. Here in New York we are target rich. Dead men can’t pass shit laws,” he wrote on Parler Jan. 6, according to prosecutors.
His defense attorney, Mia Eisner-Grynberg of Brooklyn Federal Defenders, argued that Florea should be released without bail and that his case has been inflamed by political tensions.
Florea, she said, did not participate in “the inexcusable actions that occurred at the Capitol” and instead wrote “some blather on the internet.”
“He’s not charged even with making a single online threat,” she said.
She also urged Bulsara, the judge, to consider the surge in new COVID cases at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center.
Florea will have a chance to appeal Bulsara’s decision.
The arrest has concerned residents in a quiet section of Middle Village who, like most communities, aren’t accustomed to FBI agents rolling through in armored cars.
Councilmember Robert Holden condemned the Middle Village neighbor for allegedly stockpiling ammunition illegally.
“Anyone who threatens or commits violence, or who is in possession of illegal weapons, should be arrested,” Holden said.
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