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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.

Ridgewood Mom November 20, 2012 at 02:45 AM
And yet the tea party condones precisely the sort of weapon ownership that is the basis of this article about Roberto Rivera that we are all discussing.
Fan of Ridgewood November 20, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Ridgewood Mom, you're the one who mentioned that the Tea Party wanted anarchy and then tried to defend that by saying they believe in the 2nd ammendment. Actually, they believe in the entire Constitution. Hardly the mark of anarchists. The Tea Party has always been a peaceful, law abiding movement. It has successfully defended itself from unsubstantiated accusations from people such as yourself.
Ridgewood Mom November 20, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Bill, you are being disingenuous.
Fan of Ridgewood November 20, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Ridgewood Mom, the Tea Party has never condoned illegally owning weapons. Gun ownership is not even a significant movement within the Tea Party. You remind me of the Congressional Black Caucus who falsely claimed Tea Partiers yelled the "N" word 15 times after the signing of the healthcare bill. Fortunately, multiple audiorecorders at the event and a $100K reward for evidence put the lie to them.
Ridgewood Mom November 20, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Bill: "the Tea Party has never condoned illegally owning weapons." The Tea Party has condoned owning weapons and fought to make them not be illegal. Bill: "Gun ownership is not even a significant movement within the Tea Party." Please refer to the many links directly to the Tea Party web site that I have provided in the comments section of this article. I would be delighted to hear that gun ownership is not a significant issue for you. I know that you prefer to drink juice at tea party meetings anyway. But gun control is certainly a very significant issue for many prominent and regular tea party members who pronounce so vocally on the tea party web site, at mass public tea party "town" events, on television and in actual political actions.
Ridgewood Mom November 20, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Here are some of those articles linked down below: http://www.teapartypatriots.org/2012/08/should-assault-weapons-be-banned/ http://www.teapartypatriots.org/2012/05/whats-a-girl-supposed-to-look-like/
Ridgewood Mom November 20, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Mark Meckler ring a bell?
Ridgewood Mom November 20, 2012 at 03:10 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/13/nyregion/tea-party-leader-mark-meckler-pleads-guilty-to-gun-charge.html?_r=0
OrgChemFinal November 20, 2012 at 05:53 AM
I'm guessing he had some Nitric Acid, Sulfuric Acid, Hydrogen Peroxide and some other things.. All safe and common in any amature chemists' home lab. In fact, a necessity. Now if the guy was off threatening people then he doesn't deserve his hobby. Lock him up.
RidgewoodResident November 20, 2012 at 07:11 AM
Yeah, because guns which only fire when the trigger is pressed (and the safety is off) are just as dangerous as volatile chemicals which could explode at any second and take half the block with them.
RidgewoodResident November 20, 2012 at 07:14 AM
Again, owning a gun which fires at a single target when the safety is off and trigger is pressed is not the same as owning and improperly storing volatile chemicals that could destroy half the block if a spark went astray.
Ridgewood Mom November 20, 2012 at 01:21 PM
That's fine RidgewoodResident. But this article is discussing a man who is alleged to have had some sort of chemicals, a gun with ammunition and a stun gun in his basement, and oddly tacks this all of this on to the "occupy" movement based on that man supposedly having had some sort of affiliation that was entirely unrelated to his alleged possessions. And then we are discussing the actual view of the tea party movement regarding such weapons possessions. Feel free to argue that Roberto Rivera has more radical views on keeping weapons at home then the mainstream of the "tea party" or "occupy" movements. But then understand that the "tea party" mainstream has far more radical views on private weapons ownership then does "occupy," which doesn't even have a stance or anything at all to do with the issue (or sadly, much less of anything else).
Fan of Ridgewood November 20, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Ridgewood Mom, you keep showing posts from the same site and claiming it's widespread. No, the Tea Party is not about gun ownership as much as you and other detractrors like to claim it. Just as you claim that the Tea Party advocates anarchy because it believes in limited government. You are not interested in an honest debate.
Fan of Ridgewood November 20, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Ridgewood Mom, people can read our little post string here and decide who's disingenuous. Again, you're not interested in honest debate.
Ridgewooder November 20, 2012 at 04:22 PM
The whole idea behind OWS is stupid to the point of being comic.
B@B November 20, 2012 at 05:10 PM
And what idea do you think is stupid? That the country should not be run just for the 1%? That the so-called "job creators" are doing no such thing but are instead parking their money off-shore? That companies are the biggest welfare queens in the country?
Fan of Ridgewood November 20, 2012 at 05:33 PM
They are parking their money off-shore. Exports are down now too. The smart money has no confidence in this country's economic leadership. Our government has treated them with disdain, including the largest corporate tax in the world, and they're leaving. Maybe the OWS can produce jobs. http://professional.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324595904578123593211825394.html?mg=reno64-wsj
Ridgewooder November 20, 2012 at 06:44 PM
What is stupid about OWS? What is so stupid about it is that they are against the foundations of our civilization. Not to mention that it seems to me, having walked by them and, to my misfortune, smelled them, 1/2 of them are professional protestors, 1/4 are freeloaders and 1/4 are rich kids from college getting their tuition made by their parents protesting because its the "cool" thing to do.
Ridgewooder November 20, 2012 at 06:47 PM
All the OWS people, given that of course they represent "the 99%", should form a political party and easily win all elections in which their candidates are up (given that they represent 99% of our population) and just change things as they see fit once they are in power. The "1%" is at their mercy. What is there for them to protest against?
Ridgewood Mom November 20, 2012 at 10:17 PM
In fact, I keep showing posts from the "tea party's" web site and claiming they represent tea party views. I did not claim that the Tea Party was "about gun ownership." I agreed with Stacey and others that both the "tea party" and the "occupy" movement represent "head cases" as she put it. Joe then argued it was inappropriate to compare the two organizations, stating that the "tea party" was about lowering taxes and that the "occupy" movement was about anarchy. I correctly pointed out that the tea party, by definition, is more so representative of a move toward anarchy. My main criticism of the "occupy" movement is that it represents more of an expression of anger without meaningful political mobilization. But if we were to criticize the "occupy" movement for its lack of acceptance of inequality as it sees it, it would make more sense to regard them as statist or something otherwise to the contrary of anarchist. By definition, anarchy is the antithesis of big government. My points about the tea party and its views on gun and weapon ownership were clear evidence to this point, and also illustrative of the mistake of correlating both weapon ownership and the notion of anarchy with the "occupy movement." Similarly, it is ludicrous to confuse Roberto Rivera's actions with the motivations and message of the "occupy" movement. "Big government leftists" are usually criticized by persons on the right for wanting to restrict such things as private weapon ownership.
Ridgewood Mom November 20, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Which civilizational foundations are you referring to Ridgewooder?
Fan of Ridgewood November 21, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Ridgewood Mom, you've shown one website, TeaPartyPatriots.org, which is by no means Tea Party's central site. The single example of tea party lawbreaking (Mark Meckler) was of a licenced gun owner, although not licenced in the state he was going to, with a gun in a locked box. Doing no violence to anyone. And with that, you paint the Tea Party as head cases. And, no, advocating small government is not akin to anarchy any more than a moderate christian is akin to atheism. But you know this. Again, you arent interested in honest debate.
John Santaella November 21, 2012 at 09:35 PM
The Tea Baggers don't need guns to rob. They do it with pens.
John Santaella November 21, 2012 at 09:38 PM
If you have flour in your pantry and fertilizer in your shed you've got bomb making ingredients. Tea anyone?
Tim Brown June 02, 2013 at 03:05 PM
So what did they find? A can of Coca-Cola and Mentos? The Tea Party is the most violent movement in modern American history, yet the right-wing media never reports on Tea Party violence.
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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