DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Heavily armed FBI agents and state police tackled a Parkman man wanted on federal firearms charges as he got out of his pickup truck Tuesday to attend a divorce hearing in Dover-Foxcroft District Court.
Members of the FBI and the Maine State Police tactical teams had been lying in wait for Michael J. DeMaria, 43, who was scheduled for a mediation and status conference as part of his divorce proceedings. The FBI agents and state police, who were dressed in camouflage and flak jackets, tackled him as he exited the pickup in the court’s parking lot, onlookers said. During the operation, agents in black automobiles blocked the entrances of the parking lot and essentially had the courthouse complex locked down, according to county employees.
Todd DiFede, the FBI’s supervisory senior resident agent for Maine, said the arrest was based on a court-authorized warrant, but he declined to elaborate. “Generally we don’t comment on ongoing investigations and we’re not going to comment on this because there hasn’t even been a court appearance yet,” he said.
According to court records filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor, DeMaria was arrested on two charges: possession of firearms while addicted to and an unlawful user of a controlled substance, and possession of firearms while subject to a protection from abuse order. DeMaria is scheduled to make an initial court appearance at 1 p.m. Wednesday in federal court in Bangor. It is unknown where DeMaria was taken after his arrest.
If convicted, DeMaria could receive up to 10 years in prison and-or a $250,000 fine on each count.
DeMaria has no criminal history other than the violation of a protective order.
Relatives told police that DeMaria, a mechanical engineer, is obsessed with training to fight against the government and law enforcement and had talked about building bunkers, according to the affidavit, which was filed May 13 in U.S. District Court. They said DeMaria spent long periods of time on the Internet researching how to build explosives and how to train for firearms combat. He had motion sensors and monitors, as well as animal snares and traps placed on his property, police were told.
The relatives also said DeMaria smoked marijuana 24 hours a day, seven days a week and used it to calm himself. He would rather die than give up his guns, he carried one all the time and even slept with a gun, one relative reported. Police were told that DeMaria also had guns buried on his property.
One of DeMaria’s acquaintances told police that DeMaria said he had buried “go bags” made out of 5-gallon buckets at strategic locations on his property, and that the bags contained firearms, food, and other equipment he might need if police came to get him. DeMaria allegedly told him he researched how to make Thermite grenades using flash-bang housings that he planned to throw at police vehicles to disable them, according to the affidavit.
DeMaria came to the attention of the authorities on Dec. 27, when his wife reported to police that she and her husband had had an argument and that a relative told her that DeMaria had threatened to kill her, their son and any responding police officers. She also told police that her husband had many firearms. She obtained a temporary protection from abuse order, which required, among other things, that DeMaria vacate the home and turn over his firearms.
When Piscataquis County deputies went to DeMaria’s home at 172 Lander Road in Parkman to serve the temporary order the next day, DeMaria agreed to show them where the guns were and consented to a search of his home, according to the May 13 affidavit. DeMaria told the officers he had sold all of his other guns, including AR-15’s, but had no receipts or the names of the people he had sold the guns to.
Seized during the search were a loaded Escort 12-gauge shotgun, a loaded Ruger CP 100 handgun, a loaded Ruger Model 10-22, a loaded Walther P22, a .45 caliber M-191, miscellaneous gun barrels, marijuana, marijuana pipes, an improvised explosive device resembling an M-80, eight “grenade Fuzes,” and a training hand grenade housing. A fuze is a device for detonating bombs, projectiles or explosive charges.
“Thousands” of rounds of ammunition, some of which were of different calibers from the guns seized, were not confiscated, according to the affidavit.
On Jan. 1, a subsequent search warrant was executed at DeMaria’s home by the sheriff’s department, the Maine State Police Bomb Squad and the State Fire Marshal’s Office, in search of bombs and bomb-making materials. DeMaria was stopped a distance from the residence by police and he denied that he had any more guns in the house, according to the affidavit. During the search, however, police discovered two guns in wall safes hidden in a bathroom. DeMaria was then arrested for violation of the protection order for possession of firearms and failure to turn over the firearms. In DeMaria’s pickup truck, officers found bolts for rifles.
During its investigation and based on the information provided by county and state police, the FBI found that several of the firearms seized and some of the ammunition discovered on DeMaria’s property on Dec. 28 were manufactured outside the state of Maine and “traveled in interstate or foreign commerce,” according to the affidavit.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, several FBI agents dressed in dark jackets and khaki pants were seen searching DeMaria’s pickup truck, which was parked were he had left it. A white van driven by the FBI was parked nearby. The pickup truck was later impounded.