On Friday, multiple law enforcement agencies on the state and federal level executed a search warrant at a Monterey, Massachusetts home related to an investigation of illegal manufacturing and sale of homemade explosive devices. WAMC spoke to Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington about what the search uncovered and the investigation.
HARRINGTON: Right now this investigation is really being led by the State Police Fire Services and the State Fire Marshal's Office. Initially, the state police detective unit assigned to my office was very involved in the, kind of, developing the initial tip and the search warrant and executing a search warrant last week in Monterey. And I am told from the State Police Fire Services that we can expect to see charges in the near future related to this. You know, it has been already reported that, you know, this investigation regards the manufacturing and sale of explosive devices. They're homemade M Class explosive devices. And what I'm told is that those are about two to three times more powerful than like, what you would see, you know, sold as commercial fireworks.
WAMC: At this time, is there a sense of who these explosives were being sold to?
That is being developed. And it's a multi agency investigation. As far as the community in Monterey, what's the message from authorities about the safetiness of the community at this time? Well, all of the devices were taken from the home and it was a very careful, methodical process. It took many hours to remove the devices. They are taken out a bit at a time and put in to a special kind of vehicle that contains them. And then the, what is the common practice, which is what happened in Monterey, is that everything was detonated at a safe location. And that's a typical practice. So there is no ongoing threat to the community from these devices, because they have all been disposed of. If anyone is aware of someone making explosives, then you know, they should always contact their local police department, or the arson hotline, which is 1-800-868-9229.
One of the agencies who responded to the investigation was the Connecticut State Police. Are their concerns at this time that this is a multi state crime?
Well, that's definitely under investigation. There are a number of law enforcement agencies involved right now, including the ATF and the FBI and the Connecticut State Police.
Is there any concern about a political dimension to the bomb-making activities?
I haven't heard any official word on that. You know, at this point, my office is really waiting for charges to be filed and then obtaining, you know, more documentation around what was located in home and what was found as in response to the search warrant.
Given the federal dimension of the investigation, will your office ultimately handle the prosecution of this case?
Well, we haven't had any discussions yet with the FBI or with the US Attorney's office about that. But you know, I would expect federal charges, and potentially they would potentially trump the - or, supersede I should say - the state charges in this case.