The Missing Link? - 4,200 Blasting caps? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


S E A T T L E, Dec. 30  The chemicals an Algerian man allegedly tried to smuggle into the United States include one of the worlds most powerful explosives, one often used by military forces for demolition, experts say.

But while authorities say Ahmed Ressam carried enough materials in his rental car to build an explosive device that could easily level a building, theyve been unable to find one key ingredient  the detonator.

Officials are concerned enough by that missing element that they requested a search warrant so they could comb through his car a second time, according to documents filed this week in federal court in Seattle.

FBI Special Agent Lesley Jackson took hair and fiber samples, fingerprints, samples of white powder and two AA batteries from the car, according to the warrant. But what raised questions were two pairs of shoes seized from Ressam, because in each set the right shoe bottoms were covered with masking tape. Its unclear why the shoes were taped.

Officials suspect a detonator exists because among the items initially seized were four timing devices constructed from digital Casio watches and circuit boards. Each contained clips for two 9-volt batteries and had leads to be connected to a detonator. Partners in Crime?

Its unclear whether Ressam, who was arrested Dec. 14 at the Port Angeles, Wash., border crossing, had a detonator and successfully hid it from authorities, or whether he intended to meet up with someone else who had a detonator.

But investigators dont believe Ressam was acting alone. Prosecutors in Vermont said today that Ressam has links to the same Algerian terrorist group  the Armed Islamic Group, or GIA  as a Canadian woman arrested while trying to enter the United States five days after Ressam.

Law enforcement officials, meanwhile, questioned people today across America about possible links to Ressam. Several arrests were made in New York and Massachusetts and others were questioned in Texas, Washington state and California.

This is an effort by the FBI primarily, with other law enforcement agencies, basically to get information from anybody who may have any connection to Ressam, one official explained.

Sophisticated Bomb-Making

Bomb experts say the explosive materials allegedly found on Ressam suggest a high level of sophistication.

The most powerful chemical, cyclotrimethylene trinitramine, known as RDX, is particularly difficult to synthesize, though it is known to be sold on the worlds black markets. RDX is an active component of plastic explosives, including Semtex, and is used primarily by military forces.

RDX can also be combined with fertilizers, like urea or ammonium nitrate, to create an even bigger explosion, said Van Romero, vice president of research at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Officials say they seized 118 pounds of urea from Ressams car.

Ressam was also allegedly transporting a highly explosive liquid substance similar to nitroglycerine called ethylene glycol dinitrate, or EGDN. And authorities also say Ressam was carrying hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, or HMTD, which is an unstable, explosion-initiating powder.

It would require some pretty serious chemical knowledge to put together these compounds in raw form, says Kurt Wurzeberger, director of security operations for Decision Strategies Fairfax International in Northern Virginia.

It would certainly require a chemistry background and a technical background in explosives, he said. There are a lot of chemists out there that deal in explosives who have blown themselves up in the process of trying to develop such compounds.

4,200 Blasting Caps Found in Vehicle During Traffic Stop; Driver Arrested The Associated Press

ADELANTO, Calif. (AP) - Police arrested a man early Thursday after finding 4,200 blasting caps, gasoline and a cutting torch in his vehicle during a traffic stop.

Police would not comment on the man's plans for the explosives.

James Pellum had three children with him when he was pulled over for a traffic violation in Adelanto, 65 miles northeast of Los Angeles, said police Sgt. Ed Repucci.

During the stop, the officers spotted the caps, which are primers used to detonate larger explosives, along with three gasoline cans, two gasoline generators and an acetylene torch, Repucci said.

Two of the children were turned over to Child Protective Services. The third was released to family members.

Pellum, 39, identified as a resident of Weldon, was charged with possession of a destructive device and child endangerment.

The San Bernardino County sheriff's bomb squad later destroyed the blasting caps, Repucci said. He would not release further information about the arrest.

Couldn't find the link, but I do remember an odd thing about the explosives stolen from Fresno, they didn't bother taking the blasting caps... if these are related, they were planning for quite a show...

-- Carl (, December 30, 1999


Sorry, missed an ">" :0

-- Carl (, December 30, 1999.

Good point, detonators left in bunker as well... hmmm.

-- Hokie (, December 31, 1999.

Does seem odd, Hokie..

Nobody bothers to smuggle/steal detonators, then 4,200 of them pop up in a traffic stop?... talk about LUCK....

A promotion to whoever was awake that day!

-- Carl (, December 31, 1999.

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