Brandon Russell, a Florida National Guardsman and self-proclaimed neo-nazi, was recently arrested in Key Largo. He and three roommates, all neo-Nazis, had, up until very recently, been living together and allegedly stockpiling explosive devices and chemicals that could be mixed together to create a massive explosion. One of the three roommates, Devon Arthurs, who had suddenly converted to Islam, killed two of the others, took hostages, and was talked down by law enforcement and arrested, while Russell was let go, according to the Miami New Times. However, when the murder scene was investigated, Federal Bureau of Investigation officers found violent neo-Nazi and white supremacist propaganda, framed photos of the Oklahoma City Bomber, heavy ammunition, weapons, detonation devices, and a variety of chemicals that could be used to create a bomb. Russell was then arrested. Among the explosive devices and chemicals were:
- Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD)
- potassium chlorate;
- potassium nitrate;
- Ammonia nitrate,
- Thorium and Americium (radioactive materials);
- Other explosive devices including detonators.
Russell is charged with federal weapons and explosives materials possession, while the other roommate, Arthurs, is charged with multiple murder counts. To be sentenced with a federal count of explosives materials possession, the prosecution must prove that the defendant had possession of the substances and had intent to use them to create an explosion.
What is an Explosive Material?
According to 18 U.S. Code § 841, the following definitions are used to describe explosive materials, blasting agents, and detonators:
- An explosive material is any chemical or device whose primary purpose is to explode or cause an explosion, such as a fuse;
- A blasting agent is any chemical or mixture of fuel and an oxidizer, and is not defined as an explosion, which has a primary purpose of blasting;
- A detonator is a device that initiates an explosion, such as blasting caps, delayed detonators, and fuses.
Defenses to Illegal Explosives Possession
While Brandon Russell’s claim is that the explosives and chemicals were left over from a homemade rocket project, there are other defenses that can be pursued for weapons or explosives possession. The court has to show that the defendant had possession of the explosive devices or substances and that the defendant intended to use them to create an explosion. Millions of Americans have fertilizer and gasoline in their garages. However, to create a bomb, a very specific type of fertilizer must be used, and in a perfect ratio of gasoline or other fuel. As long as the defendant has an experienced federal crimes defense lawyer, it becomes difficult to prove that they were attempting to build an explosive device solely on the fact that they had a number of common household, or even uncommon, chemicals in their possession.
Call the West Palm Beach Law Offices of the Skier Law Firm Today
The Skier Law Firm of West Palm Beach has extensive experience handling all types of federal crimes cases. Call one of our attorneys today at (561) 220-3355 for immediate legal assistance.