Jeffrey Dusti, left, and his attorney Michael Gerace at the defense table during a dangerousness hearing for Dusti in Ayer District Court Monday. SUN/Scott
Jeffrey Dusti, left, and his attorney Michael Gerace at the defense table during a dangerousness hearing for Dusti in Ayer District Court Monday. SUN/Scott Shurtleff

By Scott Shurtleff

sshurtleff@nashobavalleyvoice.com

AYER -- Jeffrey Dusti, the 62-year-old man authorities say had nearly four dozen unlicensed firearms in his Shirley home, was ordered held without bail following a dangerousness hearing on Monday.

Judge Tejal Mehta ordered Dusti held even though Dusti's attorney, Michael Gerace, said Dusti had no prior criminal record as an adult.

"He is as clean as a whistle throughout his adult life," Gerace said.

Gerace also argued that prosecutors can't prove Dusti, who does not have a license, owned the 47 guns, 44 silencers, and roughly 35,000 rounds of ammunition found in his home, because his wife, Colleen McNamara Dusti, had a valid firearms license and a federal "collectors license."

"The weapons are marital property," Gerace said. "Like a television."

But Mehta also heard from Assistant District Attorney William Freeman and two police officers who worked on the investigation, a member of the State Police Gang Unit and a Shirley police detective.

The officers' testimony helped Freeman build his case that concluded with a request to the court for no bail. A police report says investigators have information that Dusti may be connected to the Hells Angels motorcycle club.

"There is no condition of release that would ensure safety to the public," Freeman said, citing both the arsenal found in Dusti's home and an earlier incident in which Dusti is accused of assaulting and beating a friend.


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In that Oct. 17 incident, Dusti allegedly kicked and punched his friend because he wanted him to pay back $7,000 that was stolen from the friend when he got robbed in Leominster while trying to buy Dusti pills.

Police already had an arrest warrant for Dusti in connection with that Oct. 17 incident when they went to his home at 206 Great Road, Rear, on Oct. 30 with a search warrant.

The arrest warrant was for charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person over 60, intimidation of a witness, threatening to commit a crime, and two counts of making annoying phone calls, according to court records.

Members of the State Police Gang Unit, Shirley police, and a State Police SWAT team approached Dusti as he checked his mail and found a loaded .38 caliber handgun in his jacket pocket, according to police.

Dusti was arrested that day and additionally charged with carrying a loaded firearm without a license and possession of ammunition without FID card.

Police then searched his home and found 11 firearms legally registered to McNamara Dusti in addition to the 47 allegedly illegally owned by Dusti, according to police. Police said McNamara Dusti's license was immediately revoked when officers conducting the search found several unsecured firearms inside the home the couple shares. McNamara Dusti has not been charged.

On the following day, State Police charged Dusti with an additional 47 counts of possession of a firearm without an FID, 44 counts of possession of a silencer, and possession of a sawed-off shotgun.

Dusti, a retired auto mechanic and business owner who appeared in court in a white T-shirt and gym slacks, has been held without bail since his arraignment last week. Monday's hearing was held to determine whether he was too dangerous to be released on bail pending trial.

Dusti spoke only in whispers to Gerace throughout the hearing until the judge announced the ruling.

"Your honor, please," he said softly in response to the ruling.

No trial date has been set and it's unclear who will look over the couple's real estate holdings while Dusti sits in jail.

The hearing was followed immediately after with another proceeding against Dusti in which the victim of the alleged Oct. 17 assault sought a harassment protection order against Dusti.

"He'll be in jail, what good would that order serve," Gerace asked.

Mehta nevertheless issued the harassment protection order.