BANGOR, Maine — A Houlton man charged with threatening to kill a member of the European Commission earlier this year is competent to stand trial, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

Dushko Venelinov Vulchev, 38, a native of Bulgaria who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, was charged in U.S. District Court in March with one count of threats in foreign commerce.

“I will kill you like chickens,” Vulchev allegedly said in an email to a Bulgarian economist and administrator who is a member of the European Commission, which is located in Brussels, Belgium.

The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union.

The investigation into the threatening emails began Feb. 5 after the victim and others received them. The FBI allegedly traced the emails to Vulchev, who, with permission, had used a Houlton neighbor’s wireless Internet connection. Vulchev graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle in 2007.

A competency hearing was requested by both the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCormack, and Vulchev’s defense attorney, Marvin Glazier of Bangor, when Vulchev was first arraigned on the charge.

“My understanding is that the parties may be in agreement that Mr. Vulchev is competent … and this hearing is not necessary,” U.S. Magistrate Judge John Nivison said Tuesday in court.

“Based on the [two psychologist] reports, the government is in agreement that the issue of competency is not an issue,” McCormack said.

Glazier also withdrew his request for a competency hearing, saying the psychologist, “told me he was, in her words, ‘Good to go.’”

Now that Vulchev’s competence has been determined, the next step in the process is to hold a detention hearing, which could possibly happen later this week or early next week, Nivison said.

“We’ll continue the hearing on the motion of retention, day to day,” the magistrate said to end the court hearing.

If convicted, Vulchev could face a penalty of up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

BDN writer Judy Harrison contributed to this report.