East Corinth man behind bars after meth, hand grenade found in Hartford traffic stop

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 8/9/2019 9:13:30 PM
Modified: 8/9/2019 9:13:18 PM

BURLINGTON — A federal judge ordered an East Corinth man jailed Thursday after a Hartford police officer spotted methamphetamine and a hand grenade in his car following a traffic stop, according to court records.

Mark Mattiace, 41, faces a federal charge of possessing explosives while being a convicted felon based on evidence recovered after he was pulled over July 7 on Interstate 91 in Hartford, according to U.S. District Court records.

During that traffic stop, officers discovered that his license was under suspension and the registration plate did not belong on the 2002 Honda sedan he was driving during the 2:30 a.m. stop, records show. Mattiace was dismissed from the scene because he was unable to drive the car legally, and Hartford Police Officer Eric Clifford prepared the vehicle for towing.

A preliminary inspection of the vehicle yielded a bag of what appeared to be crystal methamphetamine, prompting a call for a search warrant that yielded explosives, including the grenade, a blasting cap and detonation cord, according to court records.

Further inspection revealed that the grenade did not contain explosive material, but the blasting cap and detonation cord were live, ATF Agent Scott Murray said in a court affidavit.

Mattiace was taken into custody earlier this week, about a month after the date of the traffic stop. Murray said Mattiace told multiple stories about where he got the items and what he planned to do with them.

In court this week for a detention hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Gilman argued to keep Mattiace in custody, noting that the combination of methamphetamine and explosives is a dangerous mix. He added that Mattiace has an extensive criminal record, including multiple incidents of failure to appear in court and bench warrants.

Mattiace has six felony convictions, including two for drug charges in Coos County in New Hampshire, the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said in court records.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Barclay Johnson opposed the detention request. He argued that authorities’ waiting a month to arrest Mattiace meant the case could not be as serious as prosecutors argued.

Johnson noted Mattiace has lived in the area for 15 years and that his partner, Katie Southworth, was in the court for support.

Magistrate Judge John Conroy was not swayed by the defense.

He ruled Thursday afternoon that Mattiace was a danger to the community and a flight risk if released. He noted Mattiace had tested positive for methamphetamine when he was arrested.

Conroy said twice he believes the charge is an “exceedingly serious offense.”

A probable cause hearing in Mattiace’s case was scheduled for Friday.

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