Man found with cache of firearms at home ordered detained

March 11, 2022 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island man arrested after police found more than 200 guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition and a flamethrower at his home was ordered held without bond Friday by a federal magistrate judge who based her decision on new filings by prosecutors.

The filings remain sealed, but Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan said they provide “clear and convincing evidence” that the continued detention of defendant Ronald Andruchuk is the only option that reasonably protects the public.

The detention hearing started on Tuesday but was continued until Friday because of the new filings. Sullivan said she had been working on conditions of release for Andruchuk that included home confinement at a place other than his own home with GPS monitoring as well as court-ordered mental health and substance abuse treatment.

ADVERTISEMENT

But based on new evidence of Andruchuk’s “explosive expressions of rage and acts of violence,” a firearms “obsession that has led to neglect of the family,” a “deep and intractable” level of mental health and substance abuse disorder, and his previous manipulation of such treatment, he cannot be released at this time, she said.

When contacted by email, defense attorney Kevin Fitzgerald said he had no comment.

A different judge had ruled on Monday that Andruchuk could be released with conditions but left the final decision to Sullivan.

Andruchuk, 37, was arrested at his Burrillville home Feb. 24 by police investigating reports of gunfire. Authorities said they found guns all around the home, which he shares with his wife and three children.

Prosecutors have also said that he was manufacturing ghost guns, which are assembled from kits and do not have serial numbers, making them hard to trace.

He faces several charges including possession of a firearm by a prohibited person because of his alleged drug use.

Fitzgerald, his federal public defender, argued for release under strict conditions and disputed the prosecution’s account, saying the guns were in a locked basement where the children had no access. He also said the flamethrower is legal to own and is used for brush management and snow removal. Fitzgerald has previously described Andruchuk as a collector of firearms.

Andruchuk attended Friday’s hearing remotely but did not speak.

Although the latest filings remain sealed, the discussions between Sullivan, the prosecutor and the defense gave some clues as to their contents. The first appeared to be about problems finding an appropriate place, other than his own home, for Andruchuk to stay while out on bond.

The second seemed to be about the defendant’s prior acts and communications, that prosecutor Ronald Gendron said create “a very real and tangible danger.” Fitzgerald argued that it contained little new information.