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New details, license suspension for doc in Ridgewood explosives raid

Photo Credit: Roberto Rivera, left (Bloomberg), and Hazmat vehicle outside his Ridgewood home (Boyd A. Loving
Photo Credit: by Mary K. Miraglia
Photo Credit: Roberto Rivera, left (Bloomberg), and Hazmat vehicle outside his Ridgewood home (Boyd A. Loving

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: New details emerged today in the case of a Ridgewood physician found with explosive chemicals and weapons in his house, amid word that his license was temporarily suspended by the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners.

During a Nov. 16 raid of 60-year-old Roberto Rivera’s home, state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said today, several law enforcement agencies found:

  • a basement freezer containing 2.5 liters of nitric acid, which can be used to create explosive devices;
  • an 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, which are not registered and which he is not licensed to own; 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.
  • 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.

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

ABOVE: Rivera, Scene outside his house (PHOTO: Boyd A. Loving)

Roberto Rivera in BCJ court (CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo by Mary K. Miraglia)

CLIFFVIEW PILOT reported exclusively that authorities feared domestic terrorism after Rivera 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, according to a law enforcement source.

SEE: Domestic terrorism feared in Ridgewood explosives raid
Ridgewood physician in explosives case goes before judge

That’s what drew various agents from the FBI, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Bergen County Bomb Squad and Haz Materials Team, Ridgewood police and Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification to the Union Street two-family home, where Rivera lived in a converted basement.

Rivera continued to be held today on $1 million bail, with no 10 percent option, today. He testified via teleconference in a Dec. 20 hearing of the Board of Medical Examiners, state authorities said.

“Though he is unlicensed to own a firearm, [Roberto Rivera] allegedly amassed an arsenal of unregistered assault weapons, illegal high-capacity magazines, and dangerous, volatile chemicals that can be used to create explosives,” Chiesa said today.

“This demonstrates an extreme lack of judgment and a complete disregard for the safety of others,” he added. “It also compels the Board’s swift and responsible action to protect patients in New Jersey from a dangerous practitioner.”

PHOTOS: Roberto Rivera, left (Bloomberg), and Hazmat vehicle outside his Ridgewood home (Boyd A. Loving)

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

They also revealed that he occasionally lived and worked out of his vehicle, a 2007 Nissan Xterra, from which he provided medical examinations on Long Island.

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

“A physician’s first, overriding responsibility is to provide for the health and well-being of the public.  We must be able to trust doctors to have good judgment, and to care for the safety of others,” Eric T. Kanefsky, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

“A doctor who collects an arsenal of assault weapons without a license, along with instructions on how to turn them into fully automatic weapons, and who collects bomb-making materials along with instructions on how to create explosive devices, cannot be trusted to safely and reliably practice medicine, assess vulnerable patients, and prescribe medications,” Kanefsky said. “The Board of Medical Examiners is right to act decisively for the protection of the public.”

The temporary suspension remains in effect until the Board can complete hearings – after which it could impose further discipline. Rivera can appeal to state court, Chiesa said.

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