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Cops: Sub Base Sailor Illegally Had AK-47

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Groton Sub Base (Getty Images File Photo)

Groton Sub Base (Getty Images File Photo)

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By MICHAEL MELIA, Associated Press

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) _ A Navy sailor charged with illegally possessing an AK-47 assault rifle made anti-government statements and authorities were concerned about the potential for violence, police said Tuesday.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory Dion Caldwell, 24, kept the rifle under his bed in the barracks at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, according to an arrest warrant. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service opened an investigation after an informant told the agency about the weapon and warned that Caldwell made remarks that were anti-government and anti-military.

The informant “provided the information based on a fear for the safety of others,” a police investigator wrote in an affidavit.

At his arraignment Tuesday in New London Superior Court, the sailor from Dalton, Ga., wore shackles around his hands and feet and did not speak. The judge ordered him to remain in custody on $200,000 bail. A public defender represented Caldwell at the hearing and he did not yet have an attorney.

Waterford police Sgt. Joseph DePasquale said Caldwell was “very disgruntled and anti-military” and there was concern of potential violence, but there was no evidence that Caldwell planned to harm anyone.

DePasquale said authorities who searched Caldwell’s home in Waterford found the assault rifle along with a gas mask, a .50-caliber handgun, two .45-caliber handguns and high-capacity ammunition clips for the AK-47 that could hold up to 50 rounds apiece.

“It makes you wonder,” DePasquale said. “Finding stuff like that obviously increased our concern. Our concern is whatever’s motivating him to stockpile stuff like this.”

Caldwell was arrested Monday at the submarine base, where he was assigned to the USS Springfield submarine. He was detained by Navy officials before his arrest.

The NCIS, which began its investigation on July 31, told police that a man who used to live with Caldwell in Groton said Caldwell had recently been kicked out after obtaining the rifle and because of his anti-government and anti-military rhetoric. He later moved to the residence in Waterford, where the landlord told investigators that Caldwell had an AK-47, according to court documents.

In an Aug. 17 interview at the NCIS office at the sub base, Caldwell said he bought the rifle in April in Providence, R.I., and tried to arrange for it to be shipped to Connecticut. The gun store told him the rifle was illegal in Connecticut, and he had it shipped instead to Georgia. He then drove to Georgia to pick up the weapon and bring it back, the documents said.

Caldwell consented to a search of his residence that turned up the rifle.

He was charged with possession of an assault weapon and sale or transport of a prohibited assault weapon.

An NCIS spokesman, Ed Buice, declined to comment, saying the agency does not discuss details of ongoing investigations.
____
Associated Press writer Dave Collins in Hartford, Conn., contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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