CNHI News Service
METHUEN, Mass. — A college student from Lebanon has been arrested on weapons charges after local and federal authorities discovered two assault rifles, high capacity ammunition clips and a handgun in his bedroom in this Boston suburb.
The student was identified as Jad Ali Mokad, 24, of Methuen, Mass.,a senior at nearby University of Massachusetts at Lowell. School officials said Mokad is scheduled to graduate in December with a degree in finance. He was arrested Friday.
Authorities said they were tipped to the weapons cache when the student's father called a gun store to ask how to modify an assault rilfe to fire a 30-round clip. They said the father also inquired about purchasing a silencer for the rifle.
Detective Charles Dejesus of the Methuen Police Department said the person who took the call at North Shore Firearms in Middleton, Mass., advised the caller the "items he was inquiring about were illegal" and promptly notified authorities.
Mokad was specifically charged with two counts of illegal possession of high capacity ammunition clips and having an unsecured gun accessible to a minor.
Police said Mokad was licensed to own and carry the two assault rifles and the handgun but not the high capacity ammunition clips. They also said one of the weapons was unlocked in a bedroom Mokad shared with a 6-year-old.
In addition to the ammunition magazines, Methuen police and agents from the FBI, ATF and Homeland Security also seized an AK-47 WASR-10 assault rifle, an MP assault rifle and a .38 caliber Ruger handgun.
Authorities said they are investigating what Mokad planned to do with the weapons and high capacity clips. A judge ordered him held on $15,000 bail and to surrender his passport. If convicted on the charges, he could face up to 10 years in state prison.
Massachusetts has among the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation, but they do allow gun owners to carry registered assault rifles for use at gun clubs and hunting. Methuen police said Mokad's licenses for the confiscated weapons have ben revoked.
Authorities said mass shootings over the past several months at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and the Washington, D. C., Navy Yard have resulted in greater public awareness of possible gun law violations.
Details for this story were provided by The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.