A PROUD Boy threatened to slice the throats of anti-Trump protesters and kill a Democratic Senator, prosecutors say.
Eduard Florea, 40, was detained and placed in an armoured vehicle after the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force swooped on his home in New York.
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Federal authorities arrested the self-professed Proud Boy on a weapons possession charge after he allegedly made online threats about traveling to Washington, DC,
He is alleged to have boasted on social media about traveling to Washington D.C. with a caravan of "armed patriots".
Though he didn't travel to the Capitol, prosecutors said he made verbal threats to carry out violence on the social media platform Parler, under the username LoneWolfWar.
Florea was a supporter of the Proud Boys and had applied to become a member, the government said when he appeared in court..
Prosecutors said that in one threat, Florea referred on January 6 to newly-elected Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, who is Black, writing: "Dead men can't pass s**t laws."
In a post shared on Parler the day before, he wrote: 'I catch one of you f**kers in DC tomorrow…. definitely slicing a throat….I f**king promise you…'
Florea was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm after the FBI said he possessed more than 1,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, military combat knives, and shotgun rounds.
He ordered detained pending trial by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sanket Bulsara at a virtual hearing in Brooklyn.
The judge said the government's allegations suggested that Florea's January 6 posts "make clear frankly what reflects a premeditated plan to exact violence against people in New York and people in Washington."
Florea was called out of his home in Middle Village by police before emerging on the street and surrendering in Queens on Tuesday night.
Blurry photos taken by a witness the father-of-two, with his hands raised in the middle of 76th Street.
Shocked neighbors snapped photographs of the arrest, which saw an armored FBI vehicle – with an armed agent on top – roll down 76th Street near Eliot Avenue as part of the operation to take Florea into custody.
“It was nuts. A tank was going down the street. I couldn’t believe it, especially in a quiet neighborhood like this,” one neighbor told the New York Daily News.
Another resident who also witnessed the arrest described the incident as shocking.
“That shocked the heck out of me,” she told the outlet.
“I came outside out of the basement (to see what was going on). An FBI guy yelled at me to get inside.
“He stopped mid-street. They got him.
“Not much later, a woman went out with two little kids. I actually feel sorry for the kids. They looked scared to death.”
According to law enforcement sources, records show Florea has threatened to kill others in the past and had been convicted on a weapons charge in Staten Island in 2014, the Daily News reported on Wednesday.
He was sentenced to a year behind bars on that charge after police found more than two dozen weapons in his possession, a senior law enforcement official said.
The Proud Boys is an alt-right organization that was launched in New York City in 2016 and has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
They have appeared alongside other alt-right groups at extremist gatherings, including the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2018 that left counter-protester Heather Heyer dead and 19 others injured.
Members of the Proud Boys have often expressed their support of outgoing President Donald Trump.
Florea's arrest came as members of Congress voted to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection – a week after the deadly riots left five dead.
Security has been heightened at the political hub after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol last week while the Electoral College were casting votes on the 2020 election.
The FBI has warned of the potential for further political unrest as further armed protests are expected to take place in Washington and other states loyal to Trump.
The president this week approved a Washington, DC, emergency declaration from January 11 to January 24 which orders federal assistance to aid the city's response efforts.
The Washington Monument has been closed to the public and the west steps of the Capitol are off-limits to the public ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration next week.
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