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Cambridge police find cache of weapons, illegal gun shop in man’s home; suspect arrested

A Cambridge man allegedly spent thousands of dollars to order parts of guns from dealers across the country and then allegedly turned his residence into an illegal gun shop where he fashioned the parts into whole, functioning firearms, including three assault rifles, authorities said.

In a statement, Cambridge police said they searched the Seven Pines Avenue home of Mathew Devine and a second residence at Gold Star Avenue and recovered 25 illegal firearms, the three assault rifles, parts for more guns, and milling machines allegedly used to build the weapons.

Devine, 39, did not have a license to carry firearms and is scheduled to be arraigned in Cambridge District Court Wednesday on multiple charges including 26 counts of illegal possession of firearms and three counts of illegal possession of assault rifles, police said in the statement.

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“The operation that was identified was deeply troubling and the results of this long-term investigation will make a significant positive impact on our community,” Commissioner Branville G. Bard Jr. said of the investigation.

Authorities launched an investigation into Devine’s alleged activities after the US Postal Service noticed that it delivered 75 packages — with items worth about $26,000 — that had been sent to him from gun part and firearm manufacturers, police said in the statement.

“The gun parts were purchased online, distributed through the mail and assembled into untraceable complete firearms,’’ according to the police statement. One of the packages allegedly contained a complete AR-15 rifle — the civilian version of the military’s M-16 — that had to be assembled, police said.

Police obtained search warrants for Devine’s home and the second address where a family member lives on Gold Star Avenue and then searched both places. In all, police said they seized 28 firearms, parts for “dozens” of additional firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, five bulletproof vests, and milling machines.

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The investigation, which also included the Middlesex district attorney’s office and the New England Electronic Crimes Task Force, is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call Cambridge police at 617-349-3000.


John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.