PROVIDENCE — A Burrillville man who had stockpiled more than 200 firearms remains in custody after a US magistrate judge decided to continue a bail hearing until Friday after learning “extensive” new information about the case.
Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan was poised to set the conditions of bail for Ronald Armand Andruchuk on Tuesday morning. Then, on Monday night, and again about an hour and a half before the hearing, prosecutors submitted more information about Andruchuk’s case that could potentially show there are no possible conditions to ensure his safe release home.
Sullivan said the information, which is under seal, is “extensive” and that Andruchuk’s lawyer, public defender Kevin Fitzgerald, hadn’t had the opportunity to review the latest filing.
“I’ve looked at it and I’m satisfied that it has bearing on whether there are conditions of release,” Sullivan said in a bail hearing over Zoom. Fitzgerald had requested more time.
Andruchuk, 37, a counselor at the DaVinci Center in Providence and an unsuccessful Republican candidate for a House seat in Cranston, has been held at the Wyatt Detention Center since his Feb. 24 arrest on federal charges.
A special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives began investigating Andruchuk last year when he started buying up masses of guns. In December, Andruchuk moved his wife and their young sons from Cranston to a secluded house in Burrillville — drawn by its symbolic designation as a “Second Amendment Sanctuary City” — and he caught the attention of local police for shooting on his property at all hours.
Some of those rounds went into neighbors’ properties — and narrowly missed hitting other people. Police officers called about gunfire had to duck for cover.
When Burrillville police arrested him on a misdemeanor charge of firing in a compact area, the local police and ATF searched Andruchuk’s home and found 211 firearms strewn throughout the house, along with about 10,000 rounds of ammunition. Among the weapons was a “ghost gun” short-barrel rifle in the closet of the master bedroom and kits, accessories, tools for other firearms he was building, according to the US Attorney’s office.
Andruchuk was charged by federal authorities with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, because of his alleged drug use; making false statements to purchase firearms; and causing false records to be kept by licensed firearms dealers.
He is also facing charges from authorities in Massachusetts for an incident in December when he allegedly hid two handguns and flashlights containing cocaine, oxycodone, and amphetamines in the ceiling of a men’s bathroom at the Tractor Supply Co. in Millbury, Mass.
Those who have been convicted of a felony or who are drug users are not allowed to buy firearms. Andruchuk is accused of lying on the applications, when he denied using drugs, according to court records.
Sullivan had originally ordered his release on Feb. 28, under the conditions that Andruchuk didn’t possess guns and that he submit to substance abuse and mental health treatment. Assistant US Attorney Sandra Hebert appealed, saying that Andruchuk was a danger to the community and there were no conditions that could prevent him from obtaining more firearms.
However, US District Court Chief Justice John J. McConnell Jr. denied the appeal on Monday, writing in his order that the government had not shown “clear and convincing evidence that there is no combination of conditions that would reasonably assure the safety of the community.”
McConnell also cited Andruchuk’s lack of a criminal history, his employment, and significant family ties as reasons for his release.
Andruchuk had been charged with drug crimes in 2019. He received a deferred sentence, which was later expunged, according to an affidavit supporting a search warrant.
McConnell instructed Sullivan to craft an order that requires mental health and substance abuse treatment, prevents Andruchuk from obtaining firearms or firearms kits, and allows a thorough search of the property for more firearms. Andruchuk will also have to remove all of the surveillance and security devices he’d installed, which police believe warned him of their approach, and he will have to submit to unannounced searches.
Sullivan met with the federal prosecutors and Fitzgerald before the bail hearing. “Based on new info. there is good cause for a continuance,” the magistrate judge said.