Sheriff Ron Long of Pulaski County, Missouri clarified on Monday that a cache of explosives found in October was likely not linked to any terrorist activities.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the explosives were discovered by a deer hunter on October 18 while he was making his way to a camp site in the Mark Twain National Forest. The hunter left the location and notified the sheriff’s office, which sent out a deputy to confirm whether the explosives were real. The deputy determined they were.
“The Sheriff’s Department is thankful that the hunter making this find was knowledgeable and used his common sense because the handling of these volatile explosives could have been devastating to him or anyone close by,” Long wrote in a press release.
According to Ozarksfirst.com, the explosives were stored inside a box in the middle of a jeep trail. The hunter told officials he served as a combat engineer and instantly recognized explosives when he opened the box. At least two bomb disposal units were called to the scene, along with members of a local fire department. Officials were able to confirm that the explosives were not of the type used for any recreational activity, but did not specify any further details other than determining that they were too volatile to move.
“There was a large box that contained several different types of explosives,” said Fort Leonard Sgt Eric Dean. “I can tell you they were commercial. They weren’t military grade, they were very dangerous but they weren’t military grade.”
The explosives were detonated where they were found. A small forest fire resulted from the explosion but was quickly put out by firefighters.
In light of recent events, some have questioned whether the incident was a case of thwarted terrorism. There were rumors that the box contained pipe bombs and improvised explosive devices similar to those found in Iraq, but officials have yet to confirm those claims. Sheriff Ron Long made a statement on Monday saying that after investigation by several agencies, it was determined that the explosives were not believed to have been placed there as act of terrorism.
“Recently, a national news outlet printed an article about Pulaski County and possible terrorist activity here,” Long wrote. “Yes, in October some explosives were discovered in a rural part of this County, but there was nothing found that indicated the material was linked to terrorist activity. Experts from the Army and Missouri Highway Patrol EOD Units were called in to examine the find, and then the FBI and ATF were notified and briefed about the matter.
“In conclusion, all agencies did not feel like the explosives were linked to terrorist activity. Even though we can’t completely rule out the possibility of the materials intended use was for adverse purposes, I will say this would be a very remote possibility.”
Long did not add in his statement whether officials had any suspects in the case. It is illegal in Missouri to own or possess certain explosives without a license.
It just goes to show that while in the woods, bears are not the only things hunters need to keep an eye out for.