CORRECTION - published May 9, 2013 - Due to incorrect information provided to the Times-Tribune, the wrong federal agency was listed as having arrested suspect Andrew King in a story that appeared on Page 1 of the Monday, May 7, 2013, edition. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested King.
By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
An 18-year-old London man was arrested Friday by the U.S. Marshall’s office and now faces federal charges of possession of a firearm not registered to him.
Andrew C. King remains jailed in the Laurel County Correctional Center. He is slated to appear in U.S. District Court before Judge Hanly A. Ingram for a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
According to an affidavit filed by Todd Tremaine, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, on March 30 a neighbor to King reported to the London Police Department a large noise which “sounded like an airplane had crashed” behind King’s residence.
The Laurel County Sheriff’s Department responded to the residence, according to the affidavit.
King allegedly told the responding deputy he had set off an explosion by placing explosive power in a glass container.
King was not charged at that time.
However, London Police spoke with another neighbor, who said they had heard three large explosions between December and March 30 at or near King’s residence.
One month later on April 30, Tremaine states in his affidavit that he, along with Shawn Morman, a Certified Explosives Specialist with ATF, and Jim Adkins, a Kentucky State Police Hazardous Device Investigator, and other law enforcement assisted the LPD in executing a search warrant on the King residence.
Prior to that search, Tremaine states that agents were asked to run an ATF Explosives Detection Canine around King’s vehicle, which was parked at South Laurel High School.
While Tremaine and the other agents were in the parking lot, King approached law enforcement on foot.
King was informed at that time that his residence was being searched.
No explosives were found in the vehicle parked at South Laurel.
Tremaine said he asked King if he had ever made an explosive device before, and King admitted he had. According to the affidavit, “King stated that he had a photograph and a video of an explosive device that he made approximately one month ago.”
King proceeded to show the images from the cell phone.
Tremaine and Adkins reviewed the photograph and saw a 12-ounce carbon dioxide canister, approximately 14 inches long, with a green hobby fuse attached to it.
Tremaine stated in the affidavit that behind the canister were two glass jars with white lids which appeared to contain some type of liquid.
King then showed the two men the video of the explosion, according to Tremaine.
Tremaine added that King told him he had made the device using an empty carbon dioxide canister, filling it with smokeless powder. The green fuse was used to light the device, and the two glass jars containing gasoline were placed behind it.
King was told repeatedly by law enforcement that he was free to leave, but that Tremaine wanted King to follow law enforcement to the residence for the search.
“King stated he needed to get to work,” states the affidavit. “But (he) would come assist law enforcement if an officer would explain this to his manager at work.”
Tremaine states that in a wooded area officers found a spot where several times had been suspected of exploding.
While no destructive devices were found at the residence, Tremaine reports in his affidavit that “agents and officers found multiple pieces of hard plastic, tape, PVC pipe, and pieces of a glass jar and lid — all items consistent with the manufacture and exploding of destructive devices.”
Explosive powders were also discovered in the garage of the residence.
Tremaine stated in his affidavit that King spoke to him. King told Tremaine that approximately a month prior, a juvenile friend had a paintball gun to break.
That friend reportedly supplied an empty carbon dioxide canister, and the two went to a store, where King allegedly purchased the smokeless powder and green hobby fuse.
King allegedly told Tremaine that he filled the canister with a majority of the smokeless powder, inserted the fuse, and set the glass jars of gas next to the device.
King said that the device “was the largest device he had constructed,” according to the affidavit. “King stated that he had made devices using 8-foot to 10-foot lengths of PVC pipe and smokeless powder on prior occasions, with the last occasion being approximately six months ago.”
But Tremaine stated that King had more to tell him, according to the affidavit.
“King also stated that he knew how to make a remote initiation system for an improvised explosive device (IED) (using) a cell phone,” states the affidavit. “King (said) that he used a Nokia cell phone before to ignite a smoke bomb, and drew…a diagram as to how a remote cell phone initiation system worked.”
Tremaine said that King stated he had no plans to use any explosive device as a weapon against people.
London Police seized the cell phone on April 30, and contents were saved to a disc, according to Tremaine.