PORTLAND – An Alfred man who was accused of possessing bombs and growing marijuana pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Thursday to four of five federal charges against him.

Robert Infante, 47, entered conditional guilty pleas to possession of firearms and ammunition by a felon, possession of an unregistered destructive device, manufacturing marijuana, and possession of a destructive device in relation to drug trafficking.

The conditional pleas allow Infante to appeal earlier court rulings that allowed evidence from a search of his home, as well as statements he made to authorities while at the hospital, to be considered in his case.

Infante could be sentenced to 45 years to life in prison. Under the Armed Career Criminal Act, he faces a penalty of 15 years to life for possession of firearms and ammunition. Possession of a destructive device in relation to drug trafficking would draw a sentence of at least 30 years, which could not run concurrently with prison time from the other sentences.

A date for his sentencing hearing has not been set.

Infante lost part of his left middle finger when a homemade bomb went off at his home on June 25, 2010. Ensuing events led to the discovery of pipe bombs, guns and marijuana plants at his home and prompted a scare at Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford.

Infante called 911 for an ambulance, saying a small propane tank had exploded, according to court documents. When he got tired of waiting, he started driving to the hospital. He pulled over on the way and allowed rescue workers to treat his left hand before continuing on by himself.

Firefighters who checked Infante’s home for signs of additional danger found more than a dozen pipe bombs, materials for making other explosive devices and 200 marijuana plants. The firefighters notified authorities, who found a .22-caliber revolver and a .40-caliber pistol and ammunition. Maine State Police detonated all but one of the bombs at the house; the remaining one was disassembled.

At the hospital, the area around the parking lot was evacuated. Police said they seized five pipe bombs from Infante’s car.

During an earlier court hearing, Infante admitted to having a fascination with bombs and to having a marijuana operation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey Neumann said there was nothing to indicate that Infante had any specific target for the bombs.

Infante did not change his not-guilty plea to one charge against him: possession of a firearm in relation to drug trafficking.

Neumann said the government is not inclined to pursue the charge, given Infante’s guilty pleas to the others, and plans to ask for its dismissal.

During Thursday’s brief hearing, Infante said he understood the consequences of his guilty pleas. He said he had no other choice because of a magistrate judge’s decision that the evidence from his home and his statements at the hospital would be admissible at trial.

In 1989, Infante was convicted of federal charges of possession and manufacture of a destructive device in Vermont. Four years later, also in Vermont, he was convicted on a federal charge of possession of a firearm by a felon.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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