DOCUMENT: Bizarre, Crime

Giga-Biter In Obstruction Charge

Feds: Arrestee ate flash drive evidence during processing

Kingston flash drive

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Giga-Biter In Obstruction Charge

MARCH 2--In a bold and bizarre attempt to destroy evidence seized during a federal raid, a New York City man grabbed a flash drive and swallowed the data storage device while in the custody of Secret Service agents, records show.

Florin Necula ingested the Kingston flash drive shortly after his January 21 arrest outside a bank in Queens, according to U.S. District Court filings. Necula, pictured in the mug shot at right, and several codefendants had been transported to a Secret Service office in Brooklyn, where they were to be questioned and processed.

While there, and in the view of investigators, Necula "grabbed Subject Flash Drive 2, which had been on his person at the time of his arrest, and swallowed," Agent Joseph Borger noted in this February 25 search warrant affidavit. When Necula was unable to pass the item after about four days, doctors--concerned that the drive was not compatible with the suspect's GI tract--concluded he "would be injured if they allowed the flash drive to remain inside of him," reported Borger. Necula eventually agreed to allow doctors at New York Downtown Hospital to remove the item, according to a source familiar with the incident.

A Kingston executive said it was unclear if stomach acid could damage a flash drive. "As you might imagine, we have no actual experience with someone swallowing a USB," Mike Sager wrote in an e-mail to TSG.

In return for swallowing the storage device, Necula was charged with obstruction of justice, one of four felonies detailed in an indictment returned in late-January. Prosecutors allege that Necula and three other men placed card readers over ATM slots to "skim" magnetic strip information off cards inserted in those machines. After Necula and his codefendants were busted, agents recovered laptops, cameras, flash drives, and cell phones from the men (and at a Long Island City apartment).

Necula is currently being held without bail at a Queens jail. (4 pages)