MIDDLETON — A Middleton man linked to a Boston organized crime gang will spend three years on probation after admitting yesterday that he had stored a homemade pipe bomb and an unlicensed Uzi machine gun in his basement.
Augustus LaFace, 56, was identified as a suspect during a wiretapping investigation into reputed Boston mobster Mark Rossetti’s activities.
In June 2010, investigators learned that LaFace may have been involved in marijuana distribution and obtained a search warrant for his home, prosecutor Michael Patten said.
Inside a Rubbermaid storage container in the basement of LaFace’s 61 Park Ave. home, police found a small amount of marijuana, along with a pipe bomb that contained about a pound of gunpowder and was coated with nails, according to court papers.
They also found the gun, which was not licensed.
During yesterday’s change-of-plea hearing in Salem Superior Court, defense lawyer Richard Chambers Jr. began to describe how the storage container containing the gun and the bomb had been taken from his mother’s home in East Boston after his brother died.
“What’s your point?” asked Salem Superior Court Judge David Lowy, questioning whether Chambers was trying to make a claim that LaFace didn’t know the items were in the container.
Chambers did not answer the question, going on to describe LaFace’s family obligations, including a girlfriend who had suffered a stroke.
Lowy again interrupted the lawyer, pressing him.
“This was an aberration,” Chambers said. “It was out of character.”
Chambers then told the judge about LaFace’s recent diagnosis of lymphoma, for which he is receiving daily chemotherapy.
But the judge again raised the question: Was Chambers suggesting that the items did not belong to LaFace?
Finally, Chambers answered the question, telling the judge that LaFace was taking responsibility for the items.