nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Gonzalez-Diaz (D.P.R. April 7, 2017) (indictment in stolen explosives case)

April 7, 2017

Not sure this one warrants coverage here, but I’d not seen a stolen-explosives charge in a long while and thought it was interesting enough to circulate (despite being mindful that there is no particular reason based on the limited information to assume this defendant was looking to engage in terrorism).

WASHINGTON – On April 6, 2017, a federal Grand Jury indicted Juan González-Díaz for possession of stolen explosive materials, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. On March 23, 2017, FBI agents arrested González-Díaz based on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of stolen explosives, namely, approximately 20 pounds of ammonium nitrate, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 842(h).

According to the information contained in the complaint, the defendant had stolen the explosives from a construction site in Caguas. González-Díaz took approximately two to three large bags and several others of a smaller size from a white pick-up truck. The defendant knew that the bags were explosives because the word “explosives” was written on the original packing.

González-Díaz told FBI agents that decided to store the explosives at a friend’s farm in Caguas, claiming that at the time he did not have any use for them. On March 22, 2017, FBI agents seized the explosives and a considerable number of explosive blasting caps.

“The Justice Department will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute these crimes as we strive to protect the safety of our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez of the District of Puerto Rico. “As prosecutors, a significant part of the role we play is to protect the citizens in our communities from the threats they face. This case accomplishes that.”

Assistant United States Attorney Alexander Alum is in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted, González-Díaz faces a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years, a term of supervised release of up to three years, and a fine of up to $250,000. The FBI is in charge of the investigation with the collaboration of ATF.

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