By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Repeated sounds of explosions initiated a search of a residence in Green Meadow Drive and a London teen is now facing federal charges.
Andrew C. King, 18, of Green Meadow Drive in London, was arrested on Friday afternoon after federal agents found explosive devices in his residence. He appeared before Magistrate Judge Hanly Ingram that afternoon and was set for a detention hearing today (Wednesday) in London’s U.S. District Court.
Special Agent Todd Tremaine with the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) Division filed an affidavit listing details of the investigation into King’s activities over the past several months. The affidavit states that neighbors said, on March 30, a loud noise resembling the sound of an airplane crashing came from behind King’s home in the Riverbend Subdivision. When Laurel County Sheriff’s officials responded to the complaint of the noise, King told them he had set off an explosion by putting explosive powder in a glass container. No charges were filed against King at that time.
But London Police officers spoke to other neighbors, some of whom stated that three explosions had taken place at King’s home between December 2012 and the March 30, 2013 incident.
On April 30, federal agents accompanied London Police officers to King’s residence to execute a search warrant. Agents had already run a ATF Explosives Detection Canine around King’s car, which was parked near South Laurel High School. King is a senior in the Laurel County School District.
While the search was being conducted, King allegedly walked up and identified himself as owner of the vehicle.
When advised that a search warrant would be executed at his home, King was amenable with the request and agreed to answer questions.
King showed pictures on his cell phone of devices he had built, even admitting he could make a remote initiation system for an improvised explosive device “IED” using his cell phone. He told investigators he had ignited a smoke bomb in this manner, supplying a diagram of how it worked.
A search of the vehicle did not reveal any explosive devices; however, the home search was different. In a wooded area behind King’s house, officers found multiple pieces of hard plastic, tape, PVC pipe, and pieces of a glass jar and lid, all of which are consistent with manufacturing and explosions of destructive devices.
Inside the garage, explosive powders were found although no destructive devices were found at the residence.
King also told investigators he had purchased smokeless powder and a hobby fuse, which he used to construct a bomb from a used CO2 canister that came from a friend’s broken paintball gun. King admitted setting two jars of gasoline by the device before lighting the fuse.
King also admitted to making pipe bombs using 8” to 10” lengths of PVC pipe and smokeless powder.
After contacting the ATF National Firearms Act Branch, it was verified that King does not have any firearms registered to him under the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record and he was charged on that violation.