A criminal complaint from the Federal Bureau of Investigation depicts Anthony Nicholas Gallo of North Caldwell as a young man obsessed with explosives.
According to the FBI's complaint filed in U.S. District Court, numerous materials used to make explosives were discovered in Gallo's college dorm room. He landed in the emergency room when, in his words written to a friend on Facebook, his “face was half burned off" by one of his improvised explosives.
The 20-year-old was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with transporting explosive materials without a permit or license issued by the United States Attorney General, according to U.S. District Attorney Paul Fishman. Gallo is scheduled to appear at a detention hearing at 11 a.m. Friday in Newark federal court.
The investigation began at the University of South Dakota when one of Gallo’s parents contacted the school after Gallo withdrew on Jan. 17, 2012, according to The Daily Republic. On Feb. 7, the parent asked the school to pack up Gallo’s belongings and either store them or ship them back to his home in North Caldwell.
In response to the request, a resident assistant from the dormitory entered Gallo’s room, according to court papers, and discovered several suspicious items including unidentified chemicals.
The resident assistant left the room and contacted police who say they found incendiary materials, a modified ball point pen containing strike anywhere matches as well as a thermite mixture and steel balls that could act as shrapnel and a Marlboro cigarette box packed with a 9-volt battery with wires, duct tape and electrical tape attached to it.
The court papers show police also found a poster on the wall with various hand-drawings, including a cigarette box marked with the word “dead” pointing toward a drawing of the university on a platform.
After the items were found in the dorm room, law enforcement officials conducted a court-ordered search of Gallo's Facebook account. According to court papers, Gallo exchanged messages with a friend about his trip to a remote area of Pennslyvania where he set off explosives.
On another occassion, according to the FBI, Gallo wound up in an emergency room in a New Jersey hospital with burn injuries from a potassium chlorate explosion.
Gallo is being represented by Anthony Iacullo of Iacullo Martino, LLC in Nutley, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Iacullo did not return a request for comment on Thursday.
The investigation was conducted in conjunction with the Joint Terrorism Task Force. North Caldwell Police and the Essex County Sherriff's Department assisted in the investigation.