MOSES LAKE — All of the makings for a successful fertilizer bomb were found in the car of a Moses Lake man on Thursday. The man, 39-year-old Ryan Palmer, who blames his former employer for his daughter’s birth defects, says he had no intention of using the materials to exact revenge against the former employer.
Palmer is facing charges of second-degree burglary and attempted threats to bomb and is being held in the Grant County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Deputy Kory Judkins stopped Palmer, who was in a 1998 BMW, near the entrance to REC Silicon on Road N Northeast Thursday afternoon. Palmer, who was driving with a suspended license, was given a chance to have a friend come and get his vehicle, but he declined. When the deputy was performing an inventory of the vehicle he found what appeared to be an explosive device, according to court documents.
Palmer was interviewed a short time later and advised he previously worked for Nutrient AG Solutions in the 2400 block of Road N Northeast as a chemical driver until 2015. He said he believes the AG industry did not have “safe work practices” and blamed them for his daughter’s birth defects. He admitted to going to Nutrien and walking around the plant with nobody confronting him. He said he walked around the facility over 20 times to prove how easy it could be for someone to build a fertilizer bomb and blow up the facility.
“In the past two weeks, Ryan admitted to going to Nutrien at night and entering the electrical building to check the expiration on the fire extinguisher and wiring, he stated was not to code,” read court documents.
Palmer spoke of an incident during which he entered the main storage facility of the warehouse at night and took several bags of fertilizer and minerals and two fertilizer jugs. He indicated he had all the materials to make a fertilizer bomb. After he took the fertilizer Palmer allegedly obtained diesel fuel and put it into an antifreeze jug.
“Ryan also had his homemade explosive mortar device inside the vehicle,” reads court documents. “Ryan advised he drove through the facility during business hours with the stolen fertilizer, minerals, diesel fuel, and his homemade mortar to prove if someone wanted to blow up the facility and do some damage, how easy it would be. At one point Ryan stated if he just wanted to shoot his mortar into the plant from a distance, the place would go up and no one could stop it.”
He said “taking out” Nutrien would send significant amounts of chemicals and harmful material into the air and the result would be a catastrophe. Palmer advised he was planning to drive through the plant with everything he took from Nutrien and go to the Tri-Cities plant, where he said he was going to talk to management and show them what he stole and how dangerous it would be if someone wished to inflict damage. Palmer also went through several ways he could have caused damage or set off explosives at the Nutrient plant. The examples included: rolling up the main door and driving his car into the building, taking a front-end loader to the diesel tank, fill up the bucket and drive it into the fertilizer bay, use his homemade mortar to shoot an ignition source into the building from a safe distance or lighting the raw material and walk away.
“Even though Ryan advised he did not plan to blow up the facility, He gave significant thought to how the act could be accomplished, and took steps to obtain all the materials he believe would be required to complete the task intended. Then Ryan drove those materials in his 1998 BMW through the facility on more than one occasion,” documents said.
During his interview when asked what the bomb would do if detonated Palmer asked the deputy if he had ever heard of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber.
Richard Byrd can be reached via email at email@example.com.