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28 January 2010

Virginia man had weapons cache, grenade launcher stashed in N.J. hotel room

00.jpgBRANCHBURG -- A Virginia man who once spent eight years on the run from naval investigators was arrested in Somerset County early today with a trove of high-powered weapons, including a grenade-launcher and two assault rifles, along with maps of a U.S. military base and a civilian neighborhood, authorities said.

The federal government’s Joint Terrorism Task Force quickly joined the investigation into Lloyd R. Woodson, 43, who had been staying at a Branchburg motel since last week. Woodson, whose last known address was in Reston, Va., was wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying one of the assault rifles — customized to shoot .50-caliber rounds — when police arrested him after a chase and a scuffle in a local trailer park.

Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest declined to speculate about Woodson’s intentions but remarked on the suspect’s arsenal, which included hundreds of rounds of ammunition, some of them hollow-point bullets, and a night-vision scope.

"In our experience, for private citizens to have this type of armament is quite unusual in Somerset County," Forrest said. "If you’re over in Afghanistan, it wouldn’t be rare."

UPDATE: FBI finds no terrorism link to Virginia man with weapons cache in N.J. motel room

Mixed in among Woodson’s belongings, the prosecutor said, was a Middle Eastern, red-and-white traditional headdress.

Forrest said his office reached out to the Joint Terrorism Task Force — a partnership of federal, state and local agencies administered by the Department of Justice — and that the agency had assigned an investigator from the FBI and another from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives.

Calls placed to the task force and to the FBI in Newark late this afternoon were not immediately returned.

Forrest, citing security risks, declined to identify the military base or the civilian community depicted on Woodson’s maps. He said the civilian neighborhood was not in New Jersey.

Investigators, meanwhile, were seeking to learn more about Woodson, who was charged with multiple weapons counts, resisting arrest and other charges. He remained at the Somerset County Jail last night.

red-mill-inn-motel-branchburg.JPGThe Red Mill Inn Motel in Branchburg, where weapons were found. A report of a "suspicious" man at a Branchburg Quick Chek turned out to be an armed man who had a cache of weapons and military equipment stashed in his motel room, authorities said.A U.S. Navy spokesman, Lt. Justin Cole, said Woodson joined the service in February 1988 and served aboard the USS Orion, a submarine tender, before deserting in April 1989. It would be eight years before he was returned to Navy custody, Cole said. A month later, in August 1997, Woodson was discharged.

It remained unclear last night whether he was passing through New Jersey or settling in for a longer period. He took a room last week at the Red Mill Inn, on Route 22. Shortly before 4 a.m. today, he was in a Quick Chek convenience store on Route 28 when someone in the store called police, saying Woodson had been acting suspiciously.

Branchburg Patrolman Steven Cronce, the first officer to arrive, began to question Woodson and noted he was "extremely nervous," the prosecutor said. Cronce also noticed a bulge in the front of Woodson’s green, military-style jacket, Forrest said.

When the officer continued to question Woodson, the suspect ran from the store and into the nearby Regency Trailer Park on Route 22, where officers found him. Forrest said Woodson fought with the officers, who subdued him with pepper spray. Under his coat was a ballistic vest with a reinforced steel plate and the customized assault rifle, whose ammunition is typically used in heavy weapons mounted on military vehicles.

They found a second assault rifle, a second vest, the grenade-launcher, ammunition, night scope, maps and a police scanner in Woodson’s room at the Red Mill Inn, where manager Hemant Desai said he’d seen no hint of trouble during the suspect’s stay.

On Saturday night, Desai said, he was working the evening shift and heard the sound of a CB or a radio coming from Woodson’s room. The lights were off, but Desai could see the faint glow of the television.

"I’m glad I didn’t open the door," said Desai, who has a master key to all units.

He said his colleague had gone into Woodson’s room Sunday morning and didn’t see any weapons.



posted by / http://www.nj.com/news




Wow, and probably he's going to say that it's for personal use. We shold focus on getting to know how did he got those things.

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We should be careful then.

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ballistic vest with a reinforced steel plate and the customized assault rifle, whose ammunition is typically used in heavy weapons mounted on military vehicles.

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