PROVIDENCE — Lawyers argued Thursday about the level of danger posed by a jailed crypto-currency investor and prolific gun-buyer who has wanted to go home to his upscale Burrillville house since his recent arrest.
Ronald Andruchuk, who was arrested last week, is accused of illegally possessing guns as a substance abuser.
His “demonstrated zeal” for acquiring guns, his reckless storing and shooting of firearms on his woodsy 11-acre property and his suspected drug use are among the reasons he needs to stay locked up at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, according to a prosecutor.
Andruchuk’s lawyer argues that his client is presumed innocent and has cooperated with authorities in the past, and that it’s possible to let him out of jail without endangering the public.
Last week, federal agents seized more than 200 guns and a flame-thrower from Andruchuk’s home on Tarkiln Road, where his extensive gunfire had disturbed neighbors and concerned Burrillville police, says a prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Hebert.
The seizure, following a string of shots-fired incidents, was part of an investigation that delved into Andruchuk’s hiding of two guns and cocaine in the ceiling of a Massachusetts retail store, and his substance-abuse history,
Hebert is challenging notions, expressed by a magistrate judge last week, that the system can rely on electronic monitoring and other measures to keep Andruchuk away from guns while allowing him to go home.
She argued that Andruchuk’s wife has shown “enabling behavior” and that Andruchuk’s abilities with a computer make it easy for him to rearm.
“He is smart,” she said. “He is well-educated. He is internet-savvy.”
Situation reminiscent of past mass shootings
U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell Jr. described Andruchuk’s mass procurement of guns “mind-boggling” and wondered why Burrillville police did not detain him based on the safety risk that prosecutors say he posed.
The circumstances, he said, remind of him of mass shootings where the system has missed opportunities to protect the public.
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“You can’t help but get that out of your head,” he told Andruchuk’s lawyer, Kevin Fitzgerald.
“I’m being really up front with you,” he said. “That’s where my head is right now.”
Fitzgerald told McConnell that Andruchuk’s amassing of guns last year was the activity of a collector and not a harbinger of any planned future violence.
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He mentioned that one person he’s aware of believes that Andruchuck’s activities in Burrillville wouldn’t cause anyone to bat an eyelash in Montana.
“But it’s not …” McConnell said.
‘It’s a lot to analyze’
Fitzgerald and Hebert contested the scene inside the house: Fitzgerald said guns were kept in a locked basement and were not lying around everywhere, and a gun found on the ground outside was one that Andruchuk had wielded when police arrived on the scene.
Hebert said 42 guns were in a bedroom suite and a flamethrower was in the kitchen.
McConnell, who received the arguments via video teleconference, said he would need time to consider the arguments, particularly Fitzgerald’s points, which were not preceded by any written filings.
He promised Andruchuk that he would make a decision as soon as he can and will follow the law. Andruchuk nodded.
“It’s a lot to analyze,” McConnell said.
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Ronald Andruchuk, accused of illegally having 200 guns, requests bail