An endocrinologist in Naples, Florida, faces multiple federal charges after police found homemade explosives and bomb-making supplies, as well as numerous illegal drugs, in his home.
Police were executing a search warrant at the home of Christy Daniel Cugini, MD, 63, on March 30 when they found the items, according to Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO).
A search of his bedroom turned up marijuana, tramadol, oxycodone, and hydrocodone, the sheriff’s office said. According to nbcmiami.com, police also found 560 grams of marijuana and $20,000 in cash and jewelry in a safe.
“Some of the narcotics were in pill bottles with other people’s names on them. Many of the substances were of trafficking quantities. The search also turned up numerous items of narcotic paraphernalia, including heat seal bags, a vacuum sealer, and a scale,” the CCSO report said.
Charges against Cugini include narcotics trafficking; possession of marijuana with intent to sell/manufacture/deliver; possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana; possession of a controlled substance; and possession of narcotic paraphernalia, according to the report.
He was also charged with nine counts of making/possessing a destructive device.
The CCSO bomb squad was brought in to investigate the homemade explosive devices and supplies, including potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate which can be used as oxidizers, PVC pipe, and flash powders used in fireworks in Cugini’s house and garage.
Newsweek reported that the bomb squad found six red cylindrical devices about 4 inches long, according to information reported in an affidavit from Collier County Officer Jeffrey Tayar. They may have been intended to be a hand-tossed improvised explosive device, Tayar wrote.
An officer also found three other devices made up of PVC pipe attached to a small wood square. A rifle round was inserted into the PVC pipe, Tayar’s report said.
“The device could be placed on the ground in such a manner as to leave the rifle round facing up,” Tayar reportedly wrote. “If downward pressure were applied on the tip of the round…the rifle round [would] discharge, launching the projectile portion of the round upward, presumably into the foot of the subject stepping on it.”
NBC News reported that deputies said Cugini appeared to live only with his young daughter.
He initially agreed to speak with deputies but then invoked his Miranda rights and stopped answering questions, NBC said.
Cugini’s profile has been removed from the Millennium Physician Group website.
His employer offered this statement to Medscape Medical News via spokesperson Liza Fernandez: “We are shocked at the allegations regarding Dr Christy Cugini. He has been placed on administrative leave until further notice. Millennium is committed to cooperating with law enforcement and is conducting an internal investigation.”
According to US News & World Report, Cugini is affiliated with NCH Baker Hospital. He received his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine, now located in Barbados, and has been practicing for more than 20 years.
Medscape Medical News attempted to contact Cugini but was unsuccessful.
Marcia Frellick is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has previously written for the Chicago Tribune, Science News, and Nurse.com and was an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times. Follow her on Twitter at @mfrellick