NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Proud Boys supporter who U.S. prosecutors said kept a large weapons cache and made ominous social media posts, including toward a Democratic senator, pleaded not guilty to charges of being a felon in possession of ammunition and making online threats.
Eduard Florea, of Queens, New York, entered his plea through a federal public defender at a Friday hearing before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak in Brooklyn federal court.
Florea was charged after FBI agents searched his Middle Village home and found more than 900 rounds of ammunition, 72 military-style combat knives, two hatchets and two swords, according to court papers.
Prosecutors said Florea used the name “LoneWolfWar” on Parler, a social media platform popular with many conservatives, to make threats before and during the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, though he did not travel to Washington, D.C.
According to a Jan. 22 indictment, Florea responded to a post concerning newly-elected Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock by writing “Dead men can’t pass s*** laws,” and later wrote “I am awaiting my orders … Armed and ready to deploy” and “It’s time to unleash some violence.”
Florea had been previously convicted on a New York state weapons possession charge, prosecutors said. He was arrested Jan. 12 and detained without bail.
The Proud Boys are a far-right group that has supported violence and had endorsed former U.S. President Donald Trump.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot)