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Mining Explosives Found in Arizona Campground

August 8, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Federal law enforcement agencies are conducting an investigation after explosives were found in a trailer in the outskirts of Tombstone, Ariz.

The Sierra Vista Herald reported that investigators uncovered several hazardous items at the trailer in the Tombstone RV Park and Resort, including an “improvised explosive ordinance device,” during the ensuing investigation that began Thursday (Aug. 4) and lasted through the following morning, said Carol Capas, spokeswoman for the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office.

On Thursday afternoon, the Tombstone Marshal’s Office contacted the sheriff’s office to report that family members were cleaning out a deceased relative’s home when they found several suspicious items, Capas said. The marshal’s office also contacted the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

When the sheriff’s bomb technician examined some of the items found by family members —“several plastic tubes with hand-written labels” — it was determined that they were blasting caps containing the high-explosive HMTD, a substance most often used as a primary explosive in mining operations, according to the sheriff’s office.

The bomb technician called in support from several other agencies, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety bomb technicians, the Pima County Sheriff’s Office Explosive Ordinance Division, the Oro Valley Police Department bomb-detecting dog, the Tombstone Fire Department and Health Care Innovations.

A plan to safely dispose of the items was made and, while waiting for other agencies to respond, the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office secured a search warrant for the trailer. Inside, they found the improvised explosive device along with “some additional non-explosive materials,” which were seized.

The explosive device was detonated near the trailer by the bomb technician in a safe manner and without damaging nearby property, Capas said.

Shortly before 2 a.m., the responding agencies moved the remaining explosive material to a parking lot across from the Tombstone Marshal’s Office.

In preparation for destroying the items, the marshal’s office was evacuated and Fremont Street was shut down between Third Street and Fourth Street.

Sand bags were used to help secure the items prior to their detonation.

According to Special Agent Manuel Johnson of the FBI Phoenix division, the agency is conducting the follow-up investigation into the incident, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from local law enforcement.

“There is no imminent arrest going to take place that I’m aware of, but it is an ongoing investigation,” Johnson said.

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