August 4, 2015

Baldwin Borough Man Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Firearms Laws

PITTSBURGH—A resident of Baldwin Borough, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal firearms laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Eric Charles Smith, 37, of Macassar Road, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15236 pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on or about July 27, 2014, officers of the Baldwin Borough Police Department arrested Eric Smith at his residence in Baldwin for domestic violence assault against his girlfriend and their five-year-old. Two days later, while Smith was still in jail on that charge, officers were called out to Smith’s residence by Smith’s girlfriend who indicated that she had obtained a Protection from Abuse Order against Smith and wanted his items removed from the residence, thereby giving officers consent to enter and seize items. Upon their entry, officers observed numerous (approximately 20) improvised explosive devices, explosive precursor chemicals, written calculations and recipes for explosives, bombmaking literature (such as the Anarchist Cookbook), remote detonating devices and various white supremacist and Nazi paraphernalia (including a podium and business cards which seemed to indicate that his residence was the meeting location for a group known as the “White Church Supremacists”). Among the devices was a six-inch long fused cylinder device which has been determined by the ATF to contain a perchlorate-based powder explosive containing aluminum and potassium perchlorate, as well as nails and other fragmentation taped to the outside of the cylinder. This device has been determined to be in operable condition and to fall within the legal definition of a “destructive device” by the ATF. In addition to being a convicted felon that is prohibited from possessing such a weapon, Smith has no items registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

Judge Hornak scheduled sentencing for Dec. 3, 2015. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court remanded the defendant into custody.

Assistant United States Attorney James T. Kitchen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Smith.