AUBURN, CA - The attorney for a German national linked to a cache of illegal weapons and explosives says his client is a hobbyist and poses no threat to the public.
Andreas Koertel, 46, was caught driving on a suspended license on Interstate 80 in Auburn last Thursday.
A search of the vehicle produced an assault weapon, silencer and methamphetamine.
A later search of the Rio Linda property where Koertel had been staying turned up additional assault weapons, various explosives, a cellphone that had apparently been converted into a detonation device and more than $33,000 in cash.
STORY: Explosives, assault weapons found on Rio Linda property
Sacramento County sheriff's spokesperson Sgt. Jason Ramos said investigators believe Koertel may have been selling weapons on the black market, but Koertel's lawyer says he can prove all of the money came from legitimate sources.
"He had a house. He owned cars. He sold all of those things," said Danny Brace, a Sacramento attorney hired by Koertel's family.
Brace insisted Koertel had no intention of harming anyone.
"He's an engineer. He's a very intelligent guy. And I guess I would describe him as a hobbyist," Brace said. "He builds things. He invents things."
A search of U.S. Patent records lists Koertel as the inventor of two electronic devices patented by his former employer, Hewlett-Packard.
The owner of the Rio Linda property raided on Friday is Lad Wentzel, who employed Koertel in his boat repair business, Discount Marine Services.
Wentzel said Koertel was a former friend who had become increasingly hard to get along with.
"I suspected something. I said you've got to go," Wentzel recalled.
In Placer County, Koertel faces two felony weapons charges, two felony drug charges and a misdemeanor charge of driving on a suspended license.
Tuesday's scheduled arraignment in the Placer County Jail court was continued until Thursday morning.
Ramos said no local charges have been filed yet in Sacramento County because the case may be picked up by the FBI or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net