For Immediate Release
Jacksonville Man Indicted for Possession of Molotov Cocktail at Protest
Jacksonville, Florida– United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of an indictment charging Ivan Jacob Zecher (27, Jacksonville) with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm. If convicted, Zecher faces up to 10 years in federal prison on each count. At a hearing on June 10, 2020, U.S. Zecher was ordered detained pending trial.
According to court documents, during a protest in downtown Jacksonville that was related to the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Zecher was part of a group of protesters blocking traffic and throwing items such as water bottles and rocks at police officers and cars. After refusing orders to disperse, Zecher was arrested by officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for unlawful assembly. An officer removed Zecher’s backpack to place him in flexcuffs and noticed a liquid leaking from it. A search of the backpack revealed a liquor bottle that smelled strongly of gasoline, a lighter, and a hatchet. Zecher admitted that he was holding the bottle in his backpack for an associate, and that he knew the bottle contained gasoline. Special Agents from the FBI were on the scene and responded immediately. Preliminary analysis by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that the bottle – which contained gasoline (a flammable liquid) and polystyrene (a flammable gel), and the cork to which was coated with polystyrene – constituted a “Molotov cocktail,” which is an incendiary bomb and destructive device, and therefore considered a firearm under federal law. As a previously convicted felon, Zecher is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the FBI-Jacksonville Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David B. Mesrobian.