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ASHEVILLE — A Valdese man was arrested and charged in federal court Wednesday with possessing a pipe bomb and drug trafficking.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray announced that Thomas Derreck Charlet, 40, of Valdese, appeared in federal court on charges of illegal possession of a destructive device.

Charlet was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 6 and was arrested by law enforcement Wednesday morning, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice. The federal indictment also charges Charlet with possession of ammunition by a felon and drug trafficking.

According to allegations in the federal indictment, on or about Nov. 24, Charlet possessed a destructive device known as a pipe bomb, not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

In addition to the pipe bomb, the indictment alleges that during the relevant time period, Charlet possessed ammunition, which he is prohibited from having due to prior felony convictions. In addition to the firearm offenses, Charlet is also charged with knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine, according to the federal release.

Charlet appeared in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge W. Carleton Metcalf. The maximum penalty for possession of a pipe bomb and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon is up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each offense. The drug trafficking charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The charges in the indictment are allegations and Charlet is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Charlet was released from prison in August 2011 after serving two years in state prison for a 2006 conviction of possession of a firearm by a felon, according to a North Carolina Department of Public Safety search. He has previously been convicted of misdemeanors and felonies, including possession of stolen goods, possession with intent to sell Schedule VI, traffic offenses, assault on a female and breaking and entering, the search revealed.

In making the Wednesday announcement of the federal charges, Murray commended the Valdese Police Department for its investigation of the case, and thanked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation for their assistance with this case.

Assistant United States Attorney Richard Edwards of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville is in charge of the prosecution.

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