Brentwood Man Convicted of Purchasing Military Hand Grenades in First Federal Jury Trial in New Hampshire Since the Covid-19 Pandemic Began
CONCORD – Daniel Musso, age 56, of Brentwood, was found guilty on Friday of four counts of receiving and possessing unregistered firearms (fragmentation grenades) and one count of receiving explosive material after a week-long federal jury trial, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.
According to the evidence presented during the trial, beginning in the summer of 2015, Musso engaged in a series of efforts to obtain ammunition and military weapons and explosives, including military hand grenades. After Musso told a firearms dealer about his desire to obtain these items, the FBI arranged for Musso to be introduced to an undercover agent who told Musso that he could obtain illegal hand grenades. During two meetings with the undercover agent in January 2016, Musso reiterated his desire to obtain hand grenades and other illegal military weapons and explosives. Musso explained that he was part of a group that was seeking to bring forth the “original constitution” and that he and his associates were seeking to obtain military weapons and explosives to “take our country back.” Musso was arrested on January 27, 2016, after he purchased four military hand grenades from the undercover agent in Seabrook.
Hand grenades are destructive devices that are unlawful to possess unless they are registered under the National Firearms Act. Musso previously argued that the grenades were not destructive devices because the FBI had made their fuses inoperable for safety purposes in the undercover operation. Although a district judge initially agreed with Musso, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reversed that decision, clearing the way for this matter to be tried by a jury.
Musso was taken into custody after the verdict. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
This trial was the first jury trial conducted in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire since court operations were limited in response to the pandemic in March. The court adopted a series of health and safety protocols for the jury and all other participants in the trial. Those in the courtroom wore masks, maintained social distancing, and took other steps to limit the risk of virus exposure and transmission.
“I am grateful to the members of the jury who agreed to perform their important civic duty during this challenging time,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “The jury’s dedication to justice ensured that this defendant received a fair trial despite the difficulties presented by the current pandemic. The defendant’s frightening efforts to obtain military hand grenades posed a substantial risk to public safety. Thanks to the excellent investigative work of the FBI, this dangerous scheme was thwarted and the public was protected from potential violence.”
“Daniel Musso bought four grenades and asked our undercover agent to illegally sell him additional military grade weapons and explosives as part of a frightening plan to defend his version of what our government should be. If it were not for the concerned citizen who caught wind of his plan and came forward to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, these deadly weapons could have ended up in the wrong hands,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “This case is a true testament that the adage, ‘if you see something, say something,’ really does work.”
“This arrest demonstrates the outstanding partnership between the Seabrook Police Department, FBI and the ATF. It demonstrates the commitment we share together to interdict these dangerous hand grenades which are an instrument of extreme violence and the criminals that compromise the safety of our communities” ATF Special Agent in Charge Kelly. D. Brady.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Seabrook Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John S. Davis and Matthew T. Hunter.