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Man charged with possession of improvised firearm similar to one used in Hemet police attack

May 3, 2010 |  2:30 pm

A man suspected of being a white supremacist gang member has been charged with possession of an improvised firearm similar to that used to booby-trap the front gate of the Hemet-San Jacinto Valley Gang Task Force in February.

Patrick Nugent Jr., who authorities say is a member of the Coors Skins gang, was also charged with having a pair of nunchucks – weapons usually constructed of two pieces of wood held together by a short chain.

Nugent was arrested and his weapons were found during an April 20 sweep by Hemet police investigating a rash of attacks aimed at them and the gang task force. He was charged three days later.

During the sweep, officers arrested 23 people on parole, weapons and drug violations.

In February, an officer narrowly missed being killed when he opened the front gate of the gang task force offices and a shot rang out. Investigators later found a zip gun in the gate that had been rigged to fire when the door opened.

In January, someone redirected the natural gas line outside the gang task force headquarters into the building, setting up a situation in which a spark could have caused an explosion.

Then a device police said was "dangerous" was found under the car of a task force member. After that, someone set fire to code enforcement vehicles at City Hall, and recently a police shooting range was torched. Police sources have said skinheads are among those suspected of being behind the attacks.

According to the complaint against 40-year-old Nugent, he had the zip gun and nunchucks "at the direction of and in association with a criminal street gang with the specific intent" to promote criminal conduct among gang members.

There is a $200,000 reward out for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the attacks.

-- David Kelly