QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. – Federal investigators working on a nationwide illegal-weapons case have discovered a huge arsenal of rocket launchers, hand grenades, machine guns and military explosives in a storage locker here.
Authorities said that among more than 200 weapons seized by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were at least 10 rocket launchers and bazookas, some with rockets.
However, ATF agents said the arms found Thursday are not linked to any known terrorist operation.
Instead, they were owned by a Massachusetts man -- an ex-convict from Arizona -- who divulged the location of the Queen Creek arsenal after he was arrested last month in Massachusetts as part of an investigation into machine-gun trafficking.
"It's disturbing to find an arsenal like this," said Thomas Mangan, a spokesman for the ATF in Phoenix.
The weapons cache included a rocket-propelled grenade, which is a shoulder-fired weapon that can be used against armored vehicles, as well as assault rifles, hand grenades, flame-throwers and thousands of rounds of ammunition, Mangan said.
Agents also found antique muzzle loaders and other collectible weapons. Some weapons dated back to World War II and the Korean War.
There also were tools that could be used to dismantle and alter firearms.
Mangan said that just because some of the weapons are collectors items, "it does not detract from how deadly these weapons are."
Mangan said Scott E. Segal, 40, was arrested Dec. 30 in Worcester, Mass.
He was indicted in federal court on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms -- a .45-caliber machine gun and a 9mm machine gun -- and unlawful possession of machine guns, according to Christina Sterling, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in Boston.
Segal was released Jan. 2 on a $10,000 bond -- with the condition he turn over the Arizona weapons collection, according to records from U.S. District Court in Worcester, Mass.
There was no answer Thursday night at a phone number listed under the name Scott Segal in Worcester.
Mangan said Segal told authorities about the Phoenix cache while under questioning in Massachusetts.
Agents padlocked the storage room earlier this week but didn't enter it until Thursday, Mangan said. The room was in the name of Segal's mother.
Jim Power, owner of Power Mini Storage, where the weapons were found, said Segal never stood out from other people who stored belongings at the business.
He said Segal had the storage room for six months and had last been seen there around Thanksgiving.
Court records show that in 1992, federal prosecutors in Phoenix filed nine weapons charges against Segal for possessing a machine gun, unregistered firearms and a gun with no serial number. The case stemmed from a 1991 Christmas Eve search of his Tempe home.
He was convicted on one count in July 1993 and placed on two years' probation.
Former neighbors in Tempe called Segal a recluse with an affection for firearms.
They said Segal's house, where he lived with his parents, was like a fort, protected by camouflage netting, security cameras and floodlights.