A Burlington man who possessed firearms silencers and discussed using them to shoot into a Raleigh federal building was sentenced to five years in prison on June 28, announced Matthew G.T. Martin, United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina.
Bobby John Kobito, age 56, pleaded guilty on March 22 to one count of possession of a firearm silencer. Kobito was sentenced by United States District Judge N. Carlton Tilley, Jr. to 60 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.
In January 2018, Kobito traveled to a Raleigh mosque and asked about the credibility of a video on social media purportedly depicting a Raleigh Imam’s statements regarding killing persons of another faith.
While Kobito was friendly and non-confrontational during that visit, a Raleigh police officer who happened to be in the area saw binoculars and shooting targets in Kobito’s car. The FBI then began an investigation to determine whether Kobito planned to commit a criminal act in relation to the mosque.
Using an informant, the FBI engaged Kobito through social media and later in person. Kobito told the informant that he had done “hardcore recon” at the Raleigh mosque, but was now looking at a Raleigh government building that Kobito believed was part of the National Security Agency (NSA), which Kobito believed was spying on everyone.
Kobito told the informant of his desire to shoot into the federal building in Raleigh where he believed the NSA was located. Kobito later discussed making and possessing a firearms silencer, to be used in the planned shooting of the federal building.
When a search warrant for Kobito's Burlington apartment was executed on October 25, 2018, two devices found were later determined by the ATF to qualify as firearms silencers. Kobito had not obtained the registration required under federal law in order to possess those silencers.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Terry M. Meinecke for the Middle District of North Carolina.