East Corinth man pleads not guilty in I-91 grenade case

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 8/16/2019 9:29:01 PM
Modified: 8/16/2019 9:28:49 PM

BURLINGTON — An East Corinth man pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Friday to a felony charge of possession of explosive materials by a felon during a traffic stop on Interstate 91 in Hartford in July.

Mark A. Mattiace, 41, had a grenade and methamphetamines in a car when he was pulled over by Hartford Police Cpl. Eric Clifford about 2:30 a.m. July 7, according to federal court records.

The indictment maintains Mattiace unlawfully possessed a blasting cap, detonation cord and pentaerythritol tetranitrate, an explosive material. The seized grenade did not have powder, but the other explosive items were a problem, ATF Agent Scott Murray said in a court affidavit.

The arraignment Friday was the first chance for Mattiace to enter a plea in court. He had been held since Aug. 6 on a criminal complaint filed by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Mattiace was due to have a probable cause hearing on Friday morning, but that was switched to an arraignment after a federal grand jury in Burlington filed an indictment late Thursday afternoon.

Federal Public Defender Michael Desautels asked the court for 90 days to file pre-trial motions.

He said it was likely he may wish to file a suppression motion and also needed time to review both the recorded statement Mattiace provided and his past criminal record.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Gilman noted drugs also were seized and have been sent for laboratory testing.

Federal Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy set Nov. 14 as the deadline for pre-trial motions.  He said the case has been assigned to Senior Judge William K. Sessions III in Burlington.

Mattiace is prohibited from possessing explosives because he is a felon, records show. Mattiace has six felony convictions, including two for drug charges in Coos County in northern New Hampshire, the ATF said in court records.

Conroy ordered the U.S. Marshals Service to continue to hold Mattiace, who told the court he last worked for a gardening company operated by his fiancée.

During an earlier hearing, Conroy ruled Mattiace that if he was released he would be a risk to flee and a danger to the community. Conroy noted  Mattiace had tested positive for methamphetamine when he was arrested.

During the traffic stop, Clifford determined Mattiace’s license was under suspension and the registration plate on the 2002 Honda sedan did not belong on it, court records show.

Before Mattiace was allowed to leave, Clifford issued a $220 traffic ticket for operating after civil suspension, Hartford Sgt. Karl Ebbighausen reported.

Clifford summoned a tow truck because there was no way to legally drive the Honda. As efforts were underway to have the car towed, police spotted the drugs and grenade, the ATF said.

Mike Donoghue can be reached at vermontnewsfirst@gmail.com.




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