Friday, June 22, 2007

Suspected Eco-Terrorist Caught In Colorado


I stress the "suspected" part, but the evidence is compelling to say the least. He had an bunch of weapons, explosives materials, and magazines published by the Animal Liberation Front (known terrorist group). So, the evidence is like I said ... pretty compelling.

CBS Denver:

Ronald Swerlein, 50, was arrested last weekend on suspicion of possessing and making explosives. He told police he was developing fuel for model rockets.

Police Sgt. Tim Lewis said investigators have found no indication Swerlein intended to attack anyone or that he was working with anyone else.

So far, so good.

Swerlein was arrested Sunday after the initial police search of his home. A second search on Tuesday turned up four magazines from the Animal Liberation Front, Lewis said. The magazines described arsons and the use of explosives claimed by the group, a search warrant affidavit said.

The FBI's top terrorism officer has described ALF as a terrorist group that uses criminal violence against the fur industry, restaurants and animal research labs. On its Web site, ALF says it works to reduce animal suffering and that its actions "may be against the law."

Now ... so far, not so good.

Police first searched Swerlein's home on June 15 after a neighbor reported hearing three explosions at the house three days earlier. He was arrested on Sunday after police confirmed the nature of chemicals found in the house.

Police said the 400 chemicals they found included homemade nitroglycerin and MEKP, a volatile chemical that had been stabilized and hidden in the basement.

Officers said they also found model rockets, rocket kits and engines, a launching pad for model rockets, books on homemade explosives, expensive chemistry glassware, a handwritten "to-do" list and warning note, flare guns, a Taser weapon and three metal grenade shells.

Police would not discuss the contents of the list or the note.

Now throw in that he had 7 handguns, and you have yourself a terrorist in the making.

While he did have model rockets ... it doesn't explain everything in his possession. It is possible that was his cover story from the get go as well.

Forgive me here ... I don't make model rockets, but I'm assuming a book on homemade explosives isn't real relevant to that hobby. The taser and flare guns are no big deal either, and we don't know what was in the "warning note."

MEKP is used by hobbyists in casting, but was also the suspected explosive to be used in the 2006 aircraft plot to blow up a bunch of planes heading to the US.

The one that gets me is the nitroglycerin, and grenade shells. He could easily make an improvised anti-personnel explosive with those two materials. I wonder if they found any BB's as well?

Anyway, you throw it all together with the ALF magazines, and this guy will likely be convicted of some minor infraction.


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