Teens Busted With More Than 80 IEDs In Truck, Had Been Selling Bombs
Hutchinson, KS – Two teenagers were arrested when police stopped their truck and found more than 80 improvised explosive devices (IED) inside the vehicle.
Residents of Hutchinson had been calling police for weeks to report that they heard explosions nearby, The Hutchinson News reported.
On Feb. 8, authorities got a tip that someone was driving around town with a truck full of IEDs.
“We did some investigative work on it and found out who owned the vehicle,” South Hutchinson Police Chief Dean Harcrow explained. “We located it around State Street and Poplar Street and a traffic stop was initiated.”
When they stopped the vehicle, police found it was occupied by two 18-year-old men who had more than 80 IEDs with them.
Officers discovered a plastic tote full of bomb-making materials, as well as 82 bombs that had already been assembled, The Hutchinson News reported.
“The ATF considered them to be IEDs,” Chief Harcrow said. “They said 72 of them were the equivalent of a quarter stick of dynamite and 10 of them equaled a half stick of dynamite. They were making them at a residence out in the county and selling them individually to other individuals in Reno County.”
It is illegal to manufacture explosives larger than an M80 in the United States without a federal high explosives manufacturing license, according to The Hutchinson News.
The area around the stopped vehicle was shut down by police and nearby residents were evacuated while agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Wichita office processed the crime scene.
The suspects also had a plastic tub full of extra bomb-making supplies with them in the truck.
“They were ordering stuff off the internet to make them,” Chief Harcrow said. “They included powdered potassium chlorate and aluminum powder in cardboard tubes. They had fuses.”
Police said that Tyler Bryce Bontrager and Andrew A. Hoffman, both 18 years old, had been making and selling IEDs to other people, The Hutchinson News reported.
Chief Harcrow said he suspected the bombs Bontrager and Hoffman had been selling were responsible for the last night blasts recently reported in the area.
ATF took custody of the unexploded devices and will deliver a final report on what kind of damage the IEDs could have done had they been used, The Hutchinson News reported.
Bontrager and Hoffman were arrested and booked into the Reno County jail on criminal use of explosives charges, The Hutchinson News reported.
The Reno County District Attorney’s Office will determine final charges against the suspects after they have seen the ATF’s report, KMBC reported.
Both teenagers were bonded out of jail the next day.
The investigation surrounding the explosives found in Bontrager and Hoffman’s possession isn’t over, according to The Hutchinson News.
“We’re still doing follow up,” Chief Harcrow said. “The investigation is ongoing. There might be more people involved, but we’re still looking into that.”