BANGOR, Maine — A Parkman resident who allegedly had dozens of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition scattered throughout his home and on his property was detained temporarily Wednesday by a federal judge after making his first court appearance.
Michael J. DeMaria, 43, did not enter pleas but was informed of the 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 was being held Wednesday at the Penobscot County Jail.
Heavily armed FBI agents and state police tackled DeMaria as he got out of his pickup truck Tuesday to attend a divorce hearing in Dover-Foxcroft District Court.
Dressed Wednesday in black jeans and a gray plaid flannel shirt, DeMaria clearly and politely answered U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk’s standard first appearance questions. After consulting with this attorney, Stephen Smith of Bangor, DeMaria waived a probable cause hearing.
A bail hearing is scheduled to be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday in federal court in Bangor.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James McCarthy, who is prosecuting the case, has asked that DeMaria be held without bail because he poses a danger to the community and is a flight risk, among other reasons.
McCarthy and FBI agents investigating the case declined to comment on it after Wednesday’s court hearing. It is the practice of the U.S. Justice Department not to comment on cases until they have been resolved.
Smith said outside the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building after the hearing that the federal charges stemmed from DeMaria’s ongoing divorce proceedings and a custody battle over the couple’s minor child. The DeMarias also have two grown children, he said.
“He was charged with almost exactly the same thing in state court, has been on bail [on a charge of violating a protection order] for four months and there have been no problems,” Smith said of his client.
FBI Agents, Maine State Police and deputies from the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department swarmed DeMaria’s home Wednesday afternoon as the FBI executed a search warrant.
Piscataquis County Sheriff John Goggin said the search was an offshoot of the two previous search warrants that were executed in December and January at DeMaria’s home. It was unknown Wednesday what, if anything, was found or seized during the search that continued for several hours.
DeMaria came to the attention of the authorities on Dec. 27, 2010, 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 the next day went to DeMaria’s home at 172 Lander Road in Parkman to serve the temporary order, DeMaria agreed to show them where the guns were and consented to a search of his home, according to the affidavit filed last week in federal court.
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-1911, 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.
DeMaria told the officers he had sold all of his other guns, including AR-15s, but had no receipts or the names of the people he had sold the guns to.
On Jan. 1, a subsequent search warrant was executed at DeMaria’s home by the Piscataquis County 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 having any more guns in the house, according to the affidavit. During the search, however, police reportedly discovered two guns in wall safes hidden in a bathroom. DeMaria then was arrested for violation of the protection order for possession of firearms and failure to turn over the firearms.
In addition to the guns, ammunition and other devices found on the property, 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. 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.
DeMaria has no criminal history in Maine other than the charge of violation of a protective order. Information about a possible out-of-state criminal history was not available Wednesday.
If convicted, DeMaria faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
BDN writer Diana Bowley contributed to this report.