PROVIDENCE — A Burrillville man accused of illegally buying more than 200 firearms, making ghost guns, and terrorizing his wife and neighbors pleaded guilty in US District Court Wednesday morning to three federal charges that could put him behind bars for years.
Ronald Armand Andruchuk, 38, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a user of controlled substances and two counts of making a false statement when buying firearms — essentially, that he lied to federal firearms dealers about not using drugs.
Andruchuk has also agreed relinquish his arsenal of about 220 firearms, plus an assortment of magazines, and roughly 25,000 rounds of ammunition.
In exchange for his plea, the US Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss two charges of causing false records to be kept by licensed firearms dealers, and will ask for a lower sentence, provided Andruchuk shows he accepts responsibility. Otherwise, the maximum penalty for each federal charge is 10 years in federal prison, three years supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Judge Mary S. McElroy accepted Andruchuk’s plea and scheduled his sentencing for April 17.
The reason that Andruchuk ended up shackled in McEloy’s courtroom Wednesday began in the fall of 2021, when an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives noticed that one man had been making multiple purchases of firearms.
Andruchuk was an unlicensed counselor at the DaVinci Center in Providence and a former Republican candidate for a House seat in Cranston, where he was living at the time.
The ATF agent saw that Andruchuk had purchased 169 firearms between July and November 2021, and decided to investigate possible illegal gun trafficking, assistant US Attorney Ron Gendron told the judge.
The agent found that Andruchuk had been arrested on drug charges and has admitted struggling with addiction.
Even so, when Andruchuk went on a series of gun-buying sprees that year, he passed background checks by the Cranston police and denied being a drug user or addict on forms at licensed gun dealers selling him the firearms.
In late 2021, Andruchuk moved with his wife and his three young sons to the remote house at 1746 Tarkiln Road in Burrillville, choosing the town for its symbolic “Second Amendment Sanctuary Town” status.
In December 2021, authorities in Massachusetts launched an investigation and filed charges after Andruchuk allegedly stashed 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., Gendron said. Burrillville police rejected Andruchuk’s attempt to buy more guns.
In February 2022, after Andruchuk shot into his neighbor’s yard and over the heads of Burrillville police officers, police got a warrant for his arrest for firing in a compact area. Andruchuk had greeted police while wearing a “battle belt” that held four handguns, knives, and illegal drugs, after ditching a loaded firearm in the backyard, according to court documents.
Inside the house, ATF agents and police found an unsecured arsenal of 219 firearms, more than 25,00 rounds of ammunition, and drugs including cocaine and methamphetamine, Gendron said. An examination of his cell phone found Andruchuk arranged to buy various drugs including Adderall pills and cocaine, during the same time period that he was also buying guns, Gendron told the judge.
Andruchuk told the judge he admitted to the federal prosecutor’s description of the crimes.
Andruchuk has been held without bail at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls since his arrest at his home on Feb. 24.
Andruchuk is still facing charges from state prosecutors, including two counts of possession of a ghost gun; manufacturing a ghost gun; firing in a compact area; possession of cocaine under 10 grams; possession of amphetamine over 10 grams; possession of methamphetamine under 10 grams; domestic cyber-harassment of his wife; and domestic disorderly conduct.