Moses Lake fertilizer bomb was a dud, authorities say

Print Article

Palmer

MOSES LAKE — The potential fertilizer bomb discovered in the backseat of a vehicle belonging to a Moses Lake resident was not functional, according to a spokesperson for the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.

Ryan Palmer, 39, is suspected of stealing fertilizer, diesel, magnesium and other materials over an extended period of time from fertilizer retailer Nutrien AG Solutions to create an explosive device. Palmer advised deputies that he had worked for Nutrien AG Solutions as a chemical driver until 2015, according to the interview. Palmer was arrested Dec. 27 after a routine traffic stop led deputies to discover a potential fertilizer bomb in Palmer’s vehicle.

But an investigation by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found that the device was not fully constructed and Palmer could not have detonated it, said Kyle Foreman, public information officer for the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. Additionally, the fertilizer stolen by Palmer was not the correct type to manufacture an explosive device.

Palmer originally indicated to deputies that he did not plan to detonate the device, but rather intended to “prove a point” about the company’s lax security. Family members of Palmer’s have indicated his mental health and judgment may have been affected by drug addiction.

“Ryan stated he has frequently gone to Nutrien and just simply walked all over the plant with no one confronting him,” a report on the interview said. “Ryan did this over 20 times to prove how easy it would be for someone that knew how to build a fertilizer bomb to blow up the facility.”

Palmer told deputies that he planned to drive the materials through the Moses Lake facility, then drive to a facility in Tri-Cities and inform management there of what he had accomplished.

Security camera footage from the facility corroborates Palmer’s claim of entering the facility to steal materials, said Foreman.

Officials with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, which regulates and licenses companies who manufacture, use, store, buy, or sell chemicals such as those handled at the Nutrien facility, said that the agency is working with law enforcement to investigate whether the company’s license will be affected by the incident. Officials indicate this is standard procedure for the agency.

The agency has not currently opened a separate investigation into whether security at the facility endangered the safety of workers, officials said.

Additional precursor materials for the manufacture of a fertilizer bomb were found Jan. 2 by the Grant County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol bomb squad in Palmer’s residence, according to a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office. No fully-formed explosive was found on the premises.

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.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Grant PUD to have meetings on Royal power line

December 10, 2019 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald EPHRATA — Residents of the Royal City area will be invited to two meetings in late January and early February to talk over the options for a transmission line route to the new Red Rock substation. M...

Comments

Read More

Miracle on Main Street Annual Ephrata town celebration set for Saturday

December 10, 2019 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald EPHRATA — Santa will be stopping by Ephrata for breakfast Saturday, and he’ll be back for the evening parade. The annual town Christmas celebration, “Miracle on Main Street,” also includes stories at...

Comments

Read More

Basin briefs for Dec. 11, 2019

December 10, 2019 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald House to vote today on Newhouse-sponsored farmworker bill WASHINGTON D.C. — The House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday on H.R. 5038, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, of which Re...

Comments

Read More

Tip-a-Cop: Law enforcement to serve diners at Rock Top Thursday

December 09, 2019 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — Diners walking into Rock Top Burgers and Brew Thursday shouldn’t be alarmed by police activity in the restaurant — Santa, who will also be in attendance, isn’t in any trouble. No, inste...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(509) 765-4561
PO Box 910
Moses Lake, WA 98837

©2019 Columbia Basin Herald Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X