Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008

Explosives charges dropped against Gaithersburg man

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Prosecutors have dropped 17 of the 23 charges filed against a man accused of manufacturing explosives in the basement of his Gaithersburg town house, but more may be added as the investigation continues.

Investigators searching the car and home of James L. Boka, 48, in May after receiving a tip about someone shooting off fireworks found boxes of fireworks, 11 destructive devices, marijuana and 230 pounds of chemicals commonly used to make explosives, according to police charging documents. His 12-year-old son was sleeping with a loaded gun. A large stash of weapons legally owned by Boka, including several thousand rounds of ammunition, ballistic body armor, four silencers and 30 firearms, were also found in the home.

Boka, of the 9100 block of Turtle Dove Lane, did not return call for comment.

"My understanding is that the state's attorney is still investigating and that no plea agreement has been made," said Boka's Rockville-based attorney, Thomas DeGonia.

Prosecutors dropped 14 charges of possessing a destructive device, one count of possessing an explosive or incendiary material with the intent to construct a destructive device and two drug paraphernalia charges in Montgomery County District Court on Aug. 1, according to an online state court record database. The remaining charges are two counts of allowing a minor to access a firearm, contributing to the condition of a child, marijuana possession, reckless endangerment and possession of fireworks.

Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office spokesman Seth Zucker confirmed that the case is under investigation.