FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Fort Smith man facing two federal charges after he was allegedly found in possession of a rocket-propelled grenade has filed a motion seeking to delay the start of his trial.
The FBI arrested Neil Mehta, 31, in Austin, Texas, on February 7. He was wanted by the FBI in Little Rock and the New Orleans division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after authorities executed a federal search warrant at Mehta’s residence in Fort Smith on January 31 and found an explosive device.
His arrest “ended a six-day manhunt,” according to the Department of Justice, and Mehta was charged with possession of an unregistered destructive device and possession of a destructive device unidentified by a serial number. He was arraigned in the Western District of Arkansas federal court in Fort Smith on March 9 and entered not guilty pleas to both charges.
On March 15, Mehta filed a motion seeking to continue the start of his trial. In that filing, attorney W.H. Taylor stated that defense counsel “had been put on notice that Defendant is being investigated for other charges in addition to those contained in the initial indictment.”
“Defense counsel needs an extended period of time to comb through said discovery and to hire potential experts to assist in the defense,” the motion added. It asked for a delay of approximately 90 days.
The prosecution had no objection to the request. Judge P.K. Holmes III scheduled the trial for July 17.