A federal judge in Boston ruled today that Pepo Herd El, arrested last November after he got off a bus at Ruggles while allegedly wearing body armor and packing a loaded gun, three full magazines and a knife, is unlikely to stick around for a trial and has proven enough of a potential risk to society that she had no choice but to order him locked up at least until a verdict is read.
But US District Court Magistrate Judge Judith Dein also ordered a hearing on Aug. 30 to determine whether El, whom the feds also allege was accumulating various materials for making bombs at his home on McLellan Street in Dorchester, is mentally competent to stand trial on two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.
El has declared himself a Moorish sovereign citizen and in a June letter to Dein, wrote that courts have no jurisdiction over him, something about the United States being a foreign corporation in control of just Washington, DC and therefore any attempt to try him is communism.
On July 3, 11 Moorish sovereign citizens were arrested on various weapons charges after a standoff on Rte. 128 in Wakefield that lasted several hours. In a separate case, another Moorish sovereign citizen is currently suing the state for 50 million "federal reserve notes" for the way he was stopped and detained on Rte. 3 north of Boston in February.
In her detention order today, Dein detailed her reasoning for ordering El behind bars until at least a trial:
The evidence against the defendant is strong. The investigation has revealed that since January 2019 the defendant has made a large number of firearm-related purchases, including several ammunition magazines, a laser sight, and a concealable shoulder holster. He has also bought a substantial amount of equipment to modify firearms and to create his own ammunition, as well as to build explosives. The defendant has purchased hard body armor plates and a concealed vest for wearing at least one of these plates, indicating that he is preparing for an armed confrontation. When he was arrested the defendant was wearing a waist pack that contained a loaded Glock 27 pistol with a mounted laser-sight, and 3 fully loaded magazines with ammunition that had been modified. The defendant was wearing a bullet-proof vest under his clothing and a jacket that read "security." He was carrying a fixed-blade knife in a sheath. A search of his residence pursuant to a search warrant revealed extensive security equipment, chemicals, electronics and mechanical equipment as well as drawings indicating an intention to make explosives, ammunition and gun parts.
In 2003 the defendant fired a gun at a tree near a liquor store. In 2004 he was convicted of carrying a firearm without a license, possessing ammunition without a license and resisting arrest. He was sentenced to 4 years and apparently served 2 years in a house of correction. Thus, the evidence is strong that he committed the crime of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.
Given the extensive amount of weaponry, ammunition and explosives found at the defendant's residence and on his person, the risk to the public if he were to be released is quite great, especially given his erratic emotional behavior. Moreover, given the defendant's repeated assertion that he should not be tried by any court, this court does not believe that he is likely to comply with the court's orders. In addition, given the lengthy sentence the defendant faces, the risk that he will flee is also great. This court has considered the fact that the defendant has not engaged in violent behavior for many years but nevertheless finds the risks if released too great.