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'Occupy' Doctor Had Bomb-Making Chemicals In Ridgewood Basement, Authorities Charge

Authorities raid Union Street home, say they've recover highly volatile bomb-making chemical and assault rifles.

A New York doctor who was active in the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011 was charged Saturday with possessing a large quantity of chemicals used in bomb-making, hours after authorities conducted a raid on the Ridgewood house in which he lived, officials said.

Roberto Rivera, 60, a medical doctor, was charged with recklessly creating a risk of widespread injury or damage after FBI agents and members of the Bergen County bomb squad found precursor chemicals used in the making of explosives, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said in a release Saturday afternoon.

Molinelli called at least one of the chemicals "highly volatile," but authorities did not disclose the names of the chemicals found in the house.

Rivera was being held on $1 million bail.

Once Rivera was in custody, a further search of Rivera’s home at 183 Union Street revealed a number of assault rifles and other firearms, Molinelli said.

Rivera is currently unemployed but has a valid license to practice medicine in New York, Molinelli said.

Rivera was a vocal member of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and a photograph of him was featured in a Bloomberg News photo gallery.

“I’m glad that at last the youth of America is able to stand on two feet and take a position that millions of people around the world have taken that they will not be intimidated by the capitalist free market paradigm and they will fight against gross inequality in distribution of income and assets," Rivera told Bloomberg.

Rivera was also featured in a Nov. 2011 story in the Tribeca Trib, in which he is described as a volunteer medic who walked around the 'Occupy' encampment looking for people who needed medical attention.

"Occupy Wall Street vigorously uses Constitutionally-protected rights to protest against Wall Street greed and is firmly committed to non-violence," William Dobbs, a press liaison for Occupy Wall Street, told Patch Saturday night. "Mr. Rivera, as anyone charged with a crime, is entitled to fairness and due process including reasonable bail."

Authorities from multiple agencies — including the FBI and Bergen County hazmat and bomb squad units — began removing evidence from the home on Friday night.

Ridgewood Police Chief John Ward confirmed to Patch Saturday morning that county, federal and local officials were jointly investigating a "serious situation" at a residential building.

He declined to provide any details but said the situation could be a "public safety threat."

A neighbor told Patch that authorities descended on the street at around 10 p.m. Friday and remained at the location overnight, focusing on a shared basement in the converted apartment building.

A witness said the FBI knocked on the door of another tenant at the building at 5 a.m. Saturday. The witness said FBI agents told him they were investigating a man who lived in the building.

Saturday afternoon FBI Special Agent Barbara Woodruff said it was an ongoing investigation but "the scene is definitely secured so there's no reason for concern."

Woodruff would not confirm any details or specify how the bureau was assisting. 

Rivera was charged with second degree recklessly creating a risk of widespread injury or damage; fourth degree failure to mitigate against recklessly creating a risk of widespread injury or damage; third degree unlawful possession of a destructive device; fourth degree unlawful possession of a stun gun; fourth degree unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition magazine; and second degree unlawful possession of an assault firearm.

Agencies investigating include the Ridgewood Police Department; Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office; Bergen County Police Department Bomb Squad; FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force; and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Cy Caine June 02, 2013 at 04:14 PM
I am not going to wade into the debate on who is nuttier or more violent in comparing the OWS and Tea Partiers. However, Richardo's comments re: who pays what in income taxes loses sight of the reality that the bottom 90% of taxpayers take in only just over 50% of total income while the top 1% nabs close to 20%. (See http://huff.to/13wIQKx) So if you believe in a progressive system of taxation, then this outcome logically follows. Second, as highlighted in the NYTimes blog post (http://nyti.ms/12YnqoW) from a few years back, when payroll and other taxes are added into the mix the results are decidedly more balanced. "Although low-income Americans pay little, if any, individual income tax, much of their income does go toward payroll, sales, property and other taxes. When all taxes are considered, most income groups pay taxes that amount to roughly 20 to percent of their income." Again, if you believe in a progressive system of taxation, this outcome should be a cause for concern.
John Santaella June 02, 2013 at 05:13 PM
precursor chemicals used in the making of explosives. A very vague statement. What did he have, 'Scott's Turf Builder"?
B@B June 02, 2013 at 06:13 PM
In case anyone is interested in what Occupy has been doing since last summer, here you go: http://occupysandy.net/ You can sign up to volunteer to actually join them and do concrete things to help people rebuild their homes and lives after Sandy last year (something they've been given ZERO credit for). Or you can sit home and fondle your gun and continue to hope that if you Just Work Hard Enough(TM) the Koch Brothers will let you into their club.
Fan of Ridgewood June 04, 2013 at 05:27 PM
"The Tea Party is the most violent movement in modern American history." Really? Can you name any of thei violent movements? There have been accusations that have always been found false, like the Congressional Black Caucus claiming that the tea party hurled the "N-word" at them 15 times. Yet none of the many recording devices present picked that up. a $100 reward was offered by a tea party member for any evidence. Still hasnt been claimed. I dont believe there's been a single substantiated event of violence from a tea party activity. They left the D.C rally area cleaner than they found it. The Occupy movement caused millions in damages in NYC alone. BTW, the good doctor was found with illegal assault rifles and a stun gun. The Black Panthers, the Weathermen and the KKK, among many more would be insulted that you think the Tea Party is the most violent movement in American History.
Fan of Ridgewood June 04, 2013 at 05:28 PM
I did mean a $100K reward to show evidence to substantiate the Congressional Black Caucus' lies

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