Stepson of Niagara County Legislature Chairman charged with having 7 IEDs

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Wheatfield man faces federal charges following police investigation into an explosion that caused catastrophic injury to his leg.

Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office say Michael O’Neill, 45, is charged with possession of a firearm not registered to him through the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

Court documents show ATF Investigators found Michael O’Neill, 45, was making at least seven bombs in his step-fathers’ garage.

“May have had to try to seal the end of one of his explosive devices with a hot glue gun, perhaps that ignited either the fuse or the particular explosives,” said U.S. Attorney William Hochul.

Hochul said O’Neill may have tried to stomp-out the fire, then it exploded and injured his leg. He was rushed to ECMC and is still in the hospital. O’Neill has not been taken into custody.

DOCUMENT: Michael O’Neill’s criminal complaint.

During their investigation, police say they found seven improvised explosive devices (IEDs), shotgun shells and other bomb making components like powder and chemicals. One of the IEDs was reportedly labeled “Powder w/ Nails.”

“What makes this case note-worthy is the fact that the explosive devices appeared, at least in one instance, to have shrapnel and there doesn’t to be many reasons why,” said Hochul.

Court documents show six of the devices were sealed cardboard tubes with fuses.

“We are not calling this particular investigation a terrorist investigation,” said Hochul. “What we do have, we believe, is serious enough possession manufacturing of explosive devices.”

According to the Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour, O’Neill admitted to building explosive devices to investigators from his hospital bed.

The charges O’Neill faces carry a maximum penalty of 10 years behind bars if he’s found guilty. His next court date has not yet been announced. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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