Trial to begin for Jacksonville man suspected of planning mosque shooting

Bernandino Bolatete arrested after buying silencer from undercover agent

Bernandino Bolatete and his attorney at bond hearing at U.S. District Court (Sketch by Steve Bridges)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The trial for a man suspected of planning a mass shooting at a Jacksonville mosque is slated to begin Wednesday.

Bernandino Bolatete, 69, was arrested in December after investigators said he bought a firearm silencer from an undercover agent.

In addition to being suspected in the mass shooting plot, Bolatete was charged with unlawful possession of a silencer. His attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss the charges. They contend the law that prohibits possession of a silencer without a registration is unconstitutional.

During the trial, prosecutors plan to play a recording made by the undercover agent who "sold" Bolatete the silencer.

Police raided Bolatete's home in East Arlington and seized a stockpile of 11 guns and over 2,000 rounds of ammunition, prosecutors said. A judge found he poses “an extreme risk to the community” based on his own statements and possession of multiple firearms

Bolatete has pleaded not guilty to knowingly receiving and possessing a silencer not registered to him. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

About the Authors: