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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 27, 2020

Boston Man Arrested Carrying Loaded Firearm at MBTA Station in Boston

Defendant, who allegedly purchased material that can be used to manufacture explosives, adheres to sovereign citizen ideology

BOSTON – A Boston man was arrested last night and charged with illegally carrying a loaded pistol. The defendant, who allegedly purchased a firearm and body armor, and material that could be used to assemble explosives, adheres to the anti-government/anti-authority sovereign citizen extremist ideology.

Pepo Herd El a/k/a Pepo Wamchawi Herd (El), 47, of Dorchester, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Following an initial appearance, El was detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for Dec. 2, 2020.

According to the criminal complaint, El is suspected of compiling chemicals that can be used to manufacture explosives and has been under law enforcement surveillance.

It is alleged that in the early afternoon of Nov. 26, 2020, El took a bus from his house in Dorchester to the Ruggles MBTA station. At Ruggles, El was detained and searched pursuant to a search warrant. During that search, law enforcement discovered that El was in possession of a loaded pistol, three spare magazines that were also fully loaded, a knife and a bullet-proof vest. El was also wearing a security jacket although he is not believed to work as a security guard. Due to a 2004 state conviction for possessing firearms without permits, El is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition. The investigation remains ongoing. 

The charging statute provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division made the announcement today. The investigation was conducted by FBI Boston’s Joint Terrorism Task Force with substantial assistance from the Boston Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amanda Beck and Benjamin Tolkoff of Lelling’s National Security Unit are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the criminal complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Updated November 27, 2020