A federal magistrate on Friday ordered a Willmar, Minn., man held without bail on charges that he had amassed an arsenal of machine guns, silencers and explosives and allegedly threatened court personnel and an informant.
Chad Lee Monson, 46, was one of five people arrested at his home in late January on drugs and weapons charges. He was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on 18 counts related to the seizure of machine guns, rocket launchers and pipe bombs from a bunker on his property.
His attorney, Daniel Mohs, asked the judge to release Monson pending trial, arguing that he was not a flight risk or a danger to the community. Mohs said Monson owns real estate and a business and has two children in Kandiyohi County and has never failed to appear at a court hearing. He said the "so-called threats" his client had made were levied at a judge who presided over Monson's divorce in 2013 and a lawyer involved in that case. He took no steps to carry out the threats, Mohs said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Docherty countered that he had evidence that Monson had made threats after the weapons and some methamphetamines were seized from his property this year. "So these are not five-year-old threats," he said.
Docherty noted that Monson was under court supervision from a 2017 meth case at the time the weapons and drugs were seized. And he said additional weapons charges may follow based on a federal seizure of drugs and two short-barrelled shotguns from the defendant's excavation business in Kandiyohi County. He said investigators also seized a Whizzinator device that can be used to fool drug testers. And as an aside, Docherty noted that Monson's sister, Amy Lynn Monson, 32, of Burnsville, also has been charged in state court in Kandiyohi County with threatening a witness in the case.
Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer denied bail, citing Monson's history of drug use, the nature of the charges against him, the number of weapons and bombs cited in the indictment and the fact that the probation department had recommended that he be held pending trial.
After the hearing, Mohs said in a brief interview that Monson was a weapons collector who at one time had a federal firearms license permitting him to possess automatic weapons. He said his client also had a federal permit allowing him to possess explosives, which he used in his faltering excavating and asphalt contracting business.
Unfortunately, Mohs said, Monson let the firearms license and explosives permit lapse. He said Monson's business has been struggling for years.