ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A federal agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said an Angelina County man could face federal charges after East Texas lawmen found explosives during a drug raid on his home.
"We did in fact recover one 14-inch stick of a high explosive and three electric blasting caps, so the components were there to detonate the explosive, but it was not rigged and ready to go," said Clay Alexander, the East Texas resident agent in charge for the ATF.
The federal agency was called to the crime scene late Thursday night after multiple law enforcement agencies raided Raymond Bell's home on FM 1819 just about a mile off of Hwy 7 in the Redtown area.
In the bust, narcotics officers said they uncovered a large methamphetamine lab and about 15 shotguns and rifles. Sgt. Sergio Luna, a former Marine combat engineer, discovered what he thought was a C-4, a type of high explosive.
"We did take into custody the high explosives," Alexander said. "We have them secured and stored here in the East Texas area."
Federal agents said they don't know at this time why the explosives would be in the home.
"Unfortunately, sometimes whether it be in the oil industry for seismograph charges or in the construction industry or for whatever reason some of these explosives tend to walk off or become stolen from work sites and that's what we run into with a lot of explosives like this," said Alexander.
The ATF said explosives have code markings often allowing them to be traced.
"We try to determine if they've been stolen or if Mr. Bell has had any access to explosives such as this with prior jobs or employment or family members or whoever," Alexander explained. "This is a very large stick of explosive. It's a two-inch by fourteen-inch stick of high explosive. It would've caused considerable damage."
Bell lives at the home and plans to turn himself in to authorities Friday morning, according to Sgt. Allen Hill with the narcotics division of the Angelina County Sheriff's Office.
Originally Hill said they plan to charge both men for possession of certain chemicals with the intent to manufacture. The degree of the charge would depend on how much meth and chemicals are found in the home.
Larry Flournoy was arrested on the scene. Hill said they believe Bell and Flournoy are the only two suspects in this case. Hill said Flournoy was detained pending an investigation. However, Flournoy was released from the Angelina County Jail Friday morning. Hill said they are withdrawing a drug charge from him at this time pending further investigation, but charges could be reinstated at a later date.
"Pretty sure they were dealing, can't prove that, but it will be a manufacture beyond any doubt," said Hill Thursday night.
The ATF said Bell could face federal charges of possession of explosives possibly by a drug user or storage violations.
"He [Bell] can face federal charges, but at this point, the state charges for the alleged methamphetamine manufacturing, I believe he's going to have a much harder time with that," said Alexander.
"You keep on eventually you're going to get caught, you know, that's the deal," said Hill. "If you're going to cook this stuff, you may get away with it for years, but eventually we're going to catch you. It's a matter of time and it's time to quit. Find another business to get into. We're going to find out who you are, chances are we know who you are already. It's just a matter of time before we show up at your house, so stop."
The bust is a result of a year-long investigation between the Angelina and Trinity County Sheriff's Offices, the Department of Public Safety narcotics unit, and Constable Pct. 2 Trae Trevathan.
"We work together," said Hill. "We work with all different counties' narcotics units. You know, we're always in communication with them and other counties."
Narcotics officers fielded rumors and tips about the lab, but Thursday got a warrant to search the house.