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New Canaan officer arrested on weapons, explosives charges

Officials said high explosives were found during a search of the officer's home, improperly stored, along with an assault weapon.

NAUGATUCK, Conn. — A New Canaan police officer is facing charges after high explosives were found at his home in Stratford, officials said. 

David Rivera was arrested Thursday on an arrest warrant alleging he used explosives in his business which trains working dogs for various organizations. He was arraigned in Bridgeport Superior Court on Friday.

Officials said Naugatuck executed a search and seizure warrant alongside officials at Rivera's business Black Rock Canines in Naugatuck on Wednesday following complaints of possible animal cruelty. Naugatuck officials said the investigation remained ongoing, but did not provide additional details.

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According to the State's Attorney's office, the arrest warrant stated that during a police search of Rivera's home in Stratford, they found high explosives that were improperly stored. The warrant also stated that Rivera had no permit for possessing the explosives and that he was also found to be in possession of an assault weapon. 

According to the arrest warrant, a former employee at his business first raised red flags to police after seeing how explosives were stored. The warrant states they were held inside a steel red explosives storage magazine, close to a kennel where many of the dogs are housed.

That employee told police the magazine only had one working lock band inside were multiple Tupperware containers and tackleboxes. The warrant states one Tupperware was labeled "TNT" and another as "cast booster" and the containers were showing condensation.

According to the warrant, Rivera told his employees this month that he had moved the explosives to his home in Stratford. When investigators executed a search warrant there earlier this week, they allege they found dozens of explosive materials in the garage, unsecured and accessible to anyone. In addition, some of the explosives had started to crystallize, indicating they were extremely unstable.

Rivera was charged with illegal possession of explosives, illegal storage of explosives, illegal possession of an assault weapon, illegal storage of a firearm and three counts of improper transfer of a firearm. 

He is out on a $250,000 bond, which his lawyer tried to get lowered Friday.

"The judge needs to assess a balance between seriousness of charges and risk of not appearing in court," said Atty. John Gulash. "I thought the bond was higher than it should be the judge respectfully disagreed," he said.

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The investigation was conducted by the Stratford and Naugatuck police departments, along with the Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crimes Squad and bomb squad. 

Officials said Naugatuck executed a search and seizure warrant alongside officials at Rivera's business 'Black Rock Canines' in Naugatuck on Wednesday following complaints of possible animal cruelty. Naugatuck officials said the investigation remained ongoing, but did not provide additional details.

“The several police agencies were thorough and professional, moving quickly to address this situation,” Fairfield State's Attorney Joseph Corradino said.

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Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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