HANOVER – A Niagara Falls man who caused the closure of the New York State Thruway earlier this week has been charged with possessing multiple bombs.
Jose M. Gandia, 47, is charged with unlawful possession of a destructive device and unlawful possession of a shortened shotgun.
According to the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case, on March 25, New York State Police received a report of a person pointing a shotgun with a red laser out of a pickup truck on the Thruway.
A trooper located the pickup truck stopped near an active work zone near the Town of Hanover. The trooper ordered the driver, Gandia, to exit. As the trooper attempted to handcuff Gandia, he resisted and a fight ensued. The trooper suffered a broken hand in the altercation.
A second trooper arrived and assisted in handcuffing Gandia.
A knife was found in Gandia’s pocket and a second one was located on the ground next to the pickup.
A sawed-off shotgun and a rifle were found in the passenger seat of the pickup. Troopers also found ballistic vests and an item that appeared to be a pipe bomb in the vehicle.
Troopers secured the scene and called in explosive specialists, causing the westbound I-90 to be closed.
The pipe bomb appeared to be functional, and during examination, the bomb technician used a “Disruptor” to attempt to disassemble and disable the device remotely, during which the device detonated.
Investigators searched Gandia’s Cedar Street residence and recovered nine suspected destructive devices, which seemed similar to the device found in his vehicle.
Five of the devices were attached to two separate propane tanks. Two were placed near the residence’s front entrance and two were placed near the rear entrance. All four devices were rigged to detonate.