In what may have been the aversion of a potential violent incident, a Boston man was arrested on Friday night for carrying a loaded pistol illegally at Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) bus station. Authorities found that Pepo Herd El, 47, had allegedly purchased body armor, a firearm and materials using which explosives could be made.

Also known by the alias Pepo Wamchawi Herd (El), the Dorchester resident is supposedly an adherent of the "sovereign citizen movement", an extremist and anti-government ideology. El has been charged with one count of being in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Follower of Extremist Ideology

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the sovereign citizen movement is a loosely organized assemblage of individuals and groups who observe a right-wing anarchist ideology which is anti-authority/anti-government. Certain white supremacist components also form a part of the doctrine. The origins of the movement can be traced back to the 1970s, with it acquiring robustness in the 1980s.

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The criminal complaint filed against El stated that the 47-year-old has been under the surveillance of law enforcement, is suspected of gathering chemicals that can be utilized for the assembly of explosives. On the afternoon of November 26, 2020, El arrived at the Ruggles MBTA station on a bus that he boarded from Dorchester where he resides. Pursuing a search warrant, law enforcement authorities detained and searched EL at Ruggles.

Possessing Items for A Potential Attack

As a result of the search, authorities discovered that El not only carried a loaded pistol but was also in possession of three spare magazines that were also fully loaded, a bullet-proof vest, and a knife. Despite not being known to be employed as a security guard, he was found wearing a security jacket. Due to a state conviction in 2004 for possessing firearms without permits, El is not permitted to possess firearms and ammunition.

El's detention hearing is scheduled for December 2, 2020 and the investigation is ongoing. Based on the provisions of the charging statute, he could be sentenced to prison for up to 10 years and three years of supervised release. He could also be slapped with a hefty fine of $250,000.