FBI officers stand outside the home of Dushko Vulchev at 343 Court St. in Houlton on Jan. 7, 2021. Vulchev had been arrested on charges of arson in Massachusetts in December after the burning of a Black church in Springfield. He is now facing federal hate crimes charges. Credit: Alexander MacDougall / Houlton Pioneer Times

This story is updated.

HOULTON, Maine — Several FBI agents surrounded a house located at 343 Court St. in Houlton Thursday morning that belongs to a man who recently was arrested on charges of arson at a church in Massachusetts.

Dushko Vulchev, 44, who originally is from Bulgaria and is a naturalized U.S. citizen, had emerged as a primary suspect in a series of arson fires at the Martin Luther King Community Presbyterian Church, a Black church located in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Vulchev was also accused of slashing the tires of several vehicles in the nearby area, according to local reports. He is being held at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Corrections in Pittsfield, Mass.

Kristen Setera, a spokesperson for the FBI’s field office in Boston, declined to say whether the FBI’s presence was in connection with the arson charges. Several vehicles at the Court Street scene bore Massachusetts license plates.

“This is part of an ongoing investigation,” Setera said. “At this time, I can only say there is no threat to public safety.”

A graduate of the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Vulchev later obtained an MBA from Boston University. An LLC, Ruvenis Research Corp., was listed at Vulcehv’s Houlton address, but records show it was dissolved in 2016 after failure to file an annual report.

A Facebook page, ostensibly belonging to Vulchev, lists his occupation as an investment banker. The page shows that he makes and shares many posts supporting President Donald J. Trump and the claims of voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election. Many of the clips shared have a watermark of Ruvenis Research Corp. on them. The most recent post originates from Dec. 30, 2020.

It isn’t Vulchev’s first brush with the FBI. Back in 2015, Vulchev was investigated by the FBI after it was found that he had threatened to kill Kristalina Georgieva, the current head of the International Monetary Fund. At the time. Georgieva was serving as vice president of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, under former EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker.

According to court documents, Vulchev threatened to kill Georgieva and other members “like chickens” if they did not hire more Bulgarian workers in Portugal and England. He also makes references to Angel Dzhambazki, a member of the far-right Bulgarian National Movement and a member of the European Parliament since 2014.

“If you do not obey [Dzhambazki], I will kill all you whores,” wrote Vulchev in the letter. “Who doesn’t obey an order in time of war is punished by death from firing squad. Who receives an email from me has received a kiss from the devil.”

Vulchev pleaded guilty to the charges of threatening Georgieva, and was sentenced to time served.

Vulchev had also been arrested in Houlton in March 2016 on charges of assault, along with kidnapping charges which were eventually dropped, after holding a woman captive for several hours. He was sentenced in December 2017 to 258 days in jail on charges of domestic violence assault, obstructing the report of a crime, theft and domestic violence terrorizing.