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Defense lawyer questions whether Ridgewood physician in explosives case is competent to stand trial

Photo Credit: outside Rivera’s home: Boyd A. Loving
Photo Credit: Boyd A. Loving
Photo Credit: outside Rivera's home: Boyd A. Loving
Photo Credit: outside Rivera’s home: Boyd A. Loving

EXCLUSIVE: The prosecution of a Ridgewood physician found with explosive chemicals and firearms in his house has been temporarily put on hold while his lawyer has him evaluated by a forensic psychiatrist to assess his competence to stand trial.

Roberto Rivera — who previously spent time in a mental institution, according to an indictment — remained held on $1 million bail in the Bergen County Jail pending a status hearing next month.

At that point, both sides will have a clearer picture of whether the case is headed to trial or to a competency hearing.

PHOTO: Boyd A. Loving

As CLIFFVIEW PILOT first reported exclusively, authorities feared domestic terrorism after Rivera, 61, confided to someone that he was concerned what effect a power outage from Hurricane Sandy would have on explosive chemicals he’d allegedly been refrigerating.

Those concerns drew various members of the FBI, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Bergen County Police Bomb Squad and Hazardous Materials Team, Ridgewood police and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification to the Union Street two-family home (above ), where Rivera lived in a converted basement.

During a November 2012 raid of his home, they reported finding:

  • a basement freezer containing 2.5 liters of nitric acid, which can be used to create explosive devices;
  • attic containers that included hydrogen peroxide, glycerin, sulfuric acid, calcium hypochlorite, and potassium perchlorate, which can also be used to create bombs;
  • 10 pounds of thermite, and 10 thermite lighters, which can be used to detonate bombs;
  • several weapons, including two Cobray M11 assault pistols and a .40-caliber handgun, which weren’t registered and he wasn’t allowed to have;
  • a Hellfire trigger mechanism that can allow a firearm to fire at an extremely high rate;
  • several high-capacity magazines; a stun gun;
  • assorted boxes of ammunition and other firearms and items.

State authorities said the search also turned up  folders marked “Revolution” and “Anarchism,” which they said included documents on how to create homemade explosives, a military improvised munitions manual, and documents on how to convert firearms into fully-automatic machine guns.

PHOTO outside Rivera’s home: Boyd A. Loving

Also reported found: a canister of mace, a wig, fake sideburns, and other items, state authorities said.

Although he didn’t maintain a medical office here, Rivera was licensed to practice in New York and New Jersey, they said.

He also occasionally lived and worked out of his vehicle, a 2007 Nissan Xterra, from which he provided medical examinations on Long Island, Ridgewood police said at the time.

The car contained bottles of medication, medical equipment, and prescription pads bearing Rivera’s name and New York license number, they said.

RIVERA PHOTO (TOP): Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

PHOTO outside Rivera’s home: Boyd A. Loving

PREVIOUS:

Ridgewood physician indicted in explosives case spent time in mental hospital

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