For Immediate Release
Wheatfield Man Charged with Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device
BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Michael O’Neill, 45, of Wheatfield, NY, was charged by criminal complaint with possession of an unregistered destructive device. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank T. Pimentel, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on July 21, 2015, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call regarding an injury at 6761 Walmore Road in Wheatfield. When emergency crews arrived, they discovered the defendant had a significant injury to his lower leg. Subsequently, personnel from the Erie County Bomb Squad entered the unattached garage where an explosion had occurred.
Officers noticed what appeared to be an area where explosives were being manufactured and explosive powder and BB’s in plain view. The bomb squad discovered what appeared to be seven improvised explosive devices, one was labeled “Powder w/Nails.” Other items discovered included two pill bottles labeled as flash powder, a bag of potassium perchlorate, 36 shotgun shells reloaded with fragments inside, a plastic bottle of triple seven powder, a box of triple seven pellets and a plastic bottle labeled as triple seven powder.
A subsequent x-ray exam of the device labeled “Powder w/Nails” determined that nails were packed into the device. It was disassembled and found to contain multiple nails, BB’s and suspected flash powder. A check determined that O’Neill does not have any firearms or destructive devices registered under the National Firearms Act.
The complaint is the culmination of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Reid and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff James Voutour.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.