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Minnesota man accused of starting a fire to Grand Forks Somali restaurant pleads not guilty


GRAND FORKS, North Dakota — A Minnesota man accused of starting a fire that heavily damaged a Somali restaurant in Grand Forks had pleaded not guilty in federal court.

Twenty-five-year-old Matthew Gust of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, is charged with malicious use of explosive materials. Authorities announced Friday that a grand jury had handed down an indictment.

Authorities say the Dec. 7 fire at the Juba Coffee House was started by a homemade explosive made and caused an estimated $90,000 in damage. It happened three days after vandals spray-painted what some have described as a Nazi-like symbol on the business, along with the words "go home." Investigators say they do not know if the vandalism and the fire are connected.

Gust was ordered to remain in custody before the March 15 trial.

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