PORTLAND – A man from Alfred who lost part of a finger last month while he was allegedly making pipe bombs in his basement has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Robert Infante faces charges of marijuana manufacturing, possession of a destructive device, possession of a destructive device in relation to drug trafficking, possession of a firearm in relation to drug trafficking, and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

The charges were handed up Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland, according to court records. Infante is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

Infante lives at the end of a dirt road in north Alfred. Federal investigators say he called police on the morning of June 25 to report a propane gas explosion at his home. As an ambulance approached Avery Road, the driver saw a car with flashing headlights.

“A man later identified as Robert Infante exited the vehicle without a shirt, wearing glasses, shorts and sneakers with a towel wrapped around his bleeding left hand,” wrote Paul McNeil, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in an affidavit filed with the court. “That man stated he had injured his hand filling his butane lighter.”

Infante refused to be transported by ambulance, choosing to drive his car to Southern Maine Medical Center in Biddeford.

Other emergency workers, responding to the initial report of an explosion, entered Infante’s home. In the basement, authorities say, they found a workbench spattered with blood and about 12 pipe bombs in various stages of construction, including one that was 10 inches long.

Investigators say they also found more than 100 marijuana plants, grow lights and other equipment.

After Infante arrived at the hospital, police cordoned off his car. The Maine State Police bomb squad retrieved five pipe bombs from the car, federal authorities say.

According to McNeil’s affidavit, Infante told an investigator with the state Fire Marshal’s Office that he has a fascination with pipe bombs, and that he injured himself when he dropped a bottle filled with explosive powder.

Infante has been in and out of federal prison since 1987, when he was convicted of possessing a destructive device and was sentenced to three years in prison, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons. He was eligible for time off for good behavior.

He was sentenced again in 1989 for possessing a destructive device and making false statements, and he received a five-year sentence.

In 1993, Infante was convicted of possession of a firearm by a felon and was sentenced to seven years in prison with three months of probation.

In 2001, he was given an eight-month sentence for violating probation by smoking marijuana and drinking, according to U.S. District Court in Vermont.

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

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