Joseph Rubino, 57, of Lafayette Township, was driving a van in the northern area of the state on July 24 when he lost control, ran off the road and struck a tree, police said. State troopers who responded to the crash observed various firearms and ammunition inside the van, according to a federal complaint.
Police subsequently obtained search warrants for Rubino’s vehicle and home, where they said they discovered a cache of weapons, including multiple semiautomatic rifles and handguns, several high-capacity magazines and a grenade launcher. They said they also found Nazi paraphernalia and approximately 70 grams of methamphetamine.
Rubino was charged Tuesday with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, and possession of firearms by a convicted felon, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey said in a press release.
Rubino was convicted in 1999 of writing a bad check, the federal complaint states, a felony that makes it illegal for him to possess a firearm.
A passenger in Rubino’s van when it crashed wasn’t charged with federal offenses, said Matthew Reilly, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.
If convicted, Rubino faces up to 40 years in prison on the methamphetamine charge, up to 10 years on possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and up to life in prison on the drug-trafficking charge.
Authorities didn’t reveal any motive for the stash of weapons and accessories that included brass knuckles, dozens of silencer tubes, a bullet-resistant vest, two sawed-off double-barrel shotgun barrels, and 17 assorted pistols, handguns, rifles and shotguns.
Police found clothing and bumper stickers with “SS Bolts,” which are common white supremacist and neo-Nazi symbols associated with outlaw motorcycle gangs, the federal complaint states. They also discovered a document titled “Nigger Owner’s Manual,” which contained “racist material” and purported to be “an instruction manual for owning a slave,” according to the complaint.
The arrest follows a series of recent mass shootings across the country, including in El Paso, Texas, where a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart. That shooter is believed to have written a manifesto railing against a so-called “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Less than a day later, another gunman opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people.
Federal law enforcement agents have arrested several people in recent weeks for allegedly threatening to commit mass shootings or carry out anti-Semitic attacks.
A 19-year-old man who identified as a white nationalist was arrested Saturday for threatening to attack a Jewish community center in Youngstown, Ohio. A day earlier, a 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of plotting a mass shooting targeting Hispanic people in Florida. His threats were made in a long series of Facebook posts, in which he praised Adolf Hitler, used racial slurs and heaped praise on President Donald Trump.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which assisted New Jersey State Police with the investigation involving Rubino, declined to provide additional comment beyond the federal complaint.