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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 4, 2021

Boston Man Indicted on Charges of Carrying Loaded Firearm at MBTA Station in Boston

Defendant also allegedly possessed armor-piercing ammunition and appears to adhere to sovereign citizen ideology

BOSTON – A Boston man was indicted today by a federal grand jury in connection with illegally carrying a loaded pistol. The defendant, who allegedly also possessed armor-piercing ammunition, appears to adhere to the anti-government/anti-authority sovereign citizen ideology.

Pepo Herd El a/k/a Pepo Wamchawi Herd (El), 47, of Dorchester, was indicted on two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. El was arrested on Nov. 26, 2020, and has been detained in custody since that time.

According to the charging documents, for about a year preceding his arrest, El made several firearms-related purchases online and bought chemicals that could be used to assemble explosives. Concerned that El might possess a firearm or an explosive, federal investigators began surveilling El in November 2020.

It is alleged that, on 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 semi-automatic pistol, three spare magazines and more than 40 rounds of ammunition. El was also wearing a bullet-proof vest and a jacket that had “security” written on it.

During a subsequent search of El’s Dorchester residence, law enforcement officers also allegedly discovered a fifth magazine loaded with armor-piercing rounds, in addition to other ammunition.

Due to a 2004 state convictions for possessing firearms without permits and other crimes, El is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.

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 charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated February 4, 2021