New Canaan officer due in court on explosives, weapons charges

BRIDGEPORT, CT (WFSB) – A New Canaan police officer is set to face a judge in Bridgeport on Friday for explosives and weapons charges.

David W. Rivera was arrested Thursday on a warrant that charged him with illegal possession of explosives, illegal storage of explosives, illegal possession of an assault weapon, illegal storage of a firearm in violation, and three counts of improper transfer of a firearm.

An arrest warrant affidavit submitted by police said that during a search of Rivera’s home in Stratford, quantities of high explosives were found improperly stored. Police said Rivera used the explosives in his business training working dogs for various organizations. The warrant stated that Rivera had no permit for the possession of the high explosives and that he was also found to have been in possession of an assault weapon.

The investigation was conducted by the Stratford Police Department, the Naugatuck Police Department, the Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime Squad, and the State Police Bomb Squad in cooperation with the Fairfield Judicial District State’s Attorney’s Office.

An arrest warrant was obtained after the search of Rivera’s Stratford home.

“The several police agencies were thorough and professional, moving quickly to address this situation,” said Joseph Corradino, Fairfield state’s attorney. Corradino emphasized that the charges against Rivera were merely accusations and he is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty.

Corradino said illegal possession and illegal storage of explosives are unclassified felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Possession of an assault weapon is a class D felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Illegal transfer of a firearm is a class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Rivera ran the dog training business ‘Black Rock Canines’ in Naugatuck. The business was recently investigated by multiple Connecticut agencies.

According to the arrest warrant, two former employees of Rivera brought up concerns. The warrant says Rivera told one of those employees that he did not have a license to carry explosives. The warrant noted the worker was also concerned with how the explosives were stored.

The warrant said, “None of the explosives were stored in such a manner that he had ever seen before.”

According to the warrant, 24 explosive materials were taken from Rivera’s home, categorizing nearly half of them as highly explosive.

In court, Rivera’s attorney says the explosives were being used in the dog trainings Rivera did.

New Canaan officer due in court on explosives, weapons charges

“This is the suggestion he’s a terrorist storing, and he has made threats against people or anything of the sort. The allegations here, if it is illegal, and that’ll be a question to be determined, it would appear on the surface a question of neglect or lack of specific knowledge, not that would be an excuse, but whether that would be mitigation,” says attorney Josh Gulash.

The warrant says Rivera should know as a certified police officer, that paperwork needed to be completed to take proper possession of firearms.

According to the worker, Rivera never mentioned anything about this.

In court, Gulash stressed the guns authorities took from Ramirez’s home are legally his, and he was transparent about the ones that weren’t.

“He cooperated with the police at the time of the search, your honor. He advised the police that certain weapons in that house were his, and that certain weapons in his house were someone else’s. He identified who that person was, and where the items would be located,” says Gulash.

Bond was set on the warrant at $250,000. His attorney tried to lower his bond to $50,000, but the judge kept it at $250,000

He is due back in court on May 10th.

New Canaan officer due in court on explosives, weapons charges

New Canaan officer due in court on explosives, weapons charges

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