ATF: Spokane man arrested for military weapons cache

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Thread: ATF: Spokane man arrested for military weapons cache

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    ATF: Spokane man arrested for military weapons cache

    Talk about ready for a SHTF situation...

    Local News | Grenade launchers, machine guns, C-4, weapons cache stuns agents | Seattle Times Newspaper

    Grenade launchers, machine guns, C-4, weapons cache stuns agents

    A 65-year-old Spokane man has been ordered held in custody on federal charges of illegally possessing automatic weapons and illegally storing explosives in a Bellevue commercial storage shed while agents investigate how he came to possess a huge military-grade arsenal that included grenade launchers, machine guns and plastic explosives.

    By Mike Carter

    Seattle Times staff reporter

    A 65-year-old Spokane man has been ordered held in custody on federal charges of illegally possessing automatic weapons and illegally storing explosives in a Bellevue commercial storage shed while agents investigate how he came to possess a huge military-grade arsenal that included grenade launchers, machine guns and plastic explosives.

    Ronald Struve, heavyset and bearded, appeared in Seattle before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler on Tuesday after being extradited from Spokane, where he was arrested Jan. 7 during a raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

    In four searches in Bellevue and Spokane, agents seized 37 machine guns, 12 silencers, two grenade launchers, more than 60 high-explosive grenades, several pounds of military-grade C-4 plastic explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

    Most of this material was stored in commercial sheds near businesses and homes, said Assistant U. S. Attorney Thomas Woods.

    At a detention hearing set for Friday, Woods said he will present evidence that Struve possessed "anti-government material."

    According to a complaint filed earlier this month, Struve "planned to use the items at some uncertain date in the future."

    Two law-enforcement sources familiar with the case, but who spoke on condition of anonymity, used the term "Armageddon" to describe what Struve was apparently awaiting in stockpiling the weapons.

    Agents have served four search warrants three in Spokane and another in Lynnwood.

    The Lynnwood shed was empty; however, agents recovered eight machine guns and additional grenade rounds in a search on a storage shed in Spokane.

    The search of the Bellevue storage shed did not require a warrant because agents were given permission by a man who purchased the contents at an auction.

    ATF Special Agent Heidi Wallace said much of the recovered ordnance was almost certainly stolen from the military because there is no other place to get it.

    Woods said the investigation is continuing and that a grand-jury indictment is possible. So far, agents have questioned at least two others including a man who rented the shed in Bellevue. No other arrests have been made.

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    Wallace, who was at Struve's court hearing Tuesday, said there was no evidence at this point that Struve was involved in domestic terrorism.

    Struve first came to the ATF's attention in November, when the man who had purchased the shed's contents contacted the agency after he found it full of boxes of firearms, shells and other military-style hardware and wanted to know if the weapons were legal to keep.

    The bureau sent Wallace to the buyer's garage, where he had stacked the contents from the storage unit. What Wallace found were "many boxes, plastic bins and ammunition containers."

    The first box contained what appeared to be several machine guns. Likewise, the second box contained military-type firearms. In the third box, Wallace found "two grenades and other possible explosives."

    Other agents were called, and what they found was startling and worrisome.

    "In all my years, I've never seen this sort of firepower in one place," said ATF Special Agent Nick Starcevic, the Seattle office's senior operations officer.

    One box contained 54 M406 high-explosive grenade rounds 40-millimeter shells that can be launched from a shoulder-fired weapon to distances of 300 yards or more, according to military specification.

    Its explosion creates a "kill radius" of up to 16 feet from the point of impact and injuries dozens of yards beyond that.

    Agents also found several other anti-personnel grenades, including a Korean War-era "Chicom" stick grenade.

    In another box, agents found six blocks of C-4 plastic explosives.

    Agents counted 32 apparent machine guns, including M-14s, M-16s, and several "Sten guns," a mass-produced submachine gun known for its high rate of fire upward of 500 rounds per minute.

    They also found nine silencers and the parts for several others, as well as thousands of rounds of ammunition and various other military hardware.

    "All of the military explosive items seized are considered contraband and cannot be possessed by anyone other than the military," Wallace wrote in a search warrant. "The majority of the items seized appeared to be stolen military explosive materials."
    You think he would have been smart enough to pay his storage bill. Where do you even get all this junk?

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array C9H13NO3's Avatar
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    Allright...who was it? Fess up.
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    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
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    I have to admit I would have been hard pressed and indesisive about reporting what I found. I would have at least made sure that everything would have been looked at at least once. With the current state of affairs it would have been very tempting to store everything somewhere else and keep my mouth shut. I am a collector of weapons, and having access to weapons that I can't buy would be really hard to give them up.

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    Member Array Taylor's Avatar
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    The way that article reads I would not bet a lot on the accuracy of it. It could be a shed full of leftover stuff from a failed airsoft business and the media would write it up like that.

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nutz4utwo View Post
    You think he would have been smart enough to pay his storage bill.
    Agreed.

    He's smart enough to accumulate all this stuff under wraps with no one in law enforcement getting a hint he was doing this.
    But he's not smart and careful enough to pay his storage fees so as to not LOSE everything.

    I too wonder how the heck did he acquire much of this?

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    C-4 explosive isn't used in the airsoft busines neither is HE 40mm grenades
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    Ex Member Array JOHNSMITH's Avatar
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    Quite the collection. It's very bad that he decided to store all this in a populated area, however.

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    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C9H13NO3 View Post
    Allright...who was it? Fess up.


    It wasn't me. Honest.

    I was trying to buy it from him but he wouldn't sell.

    That was quite a load he had.

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    Guess we know where he will be when Armageddon arrives!

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    Distinguished Member Array lacrosse50's Avatar
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    Wow... Assuming the article's accurate, that's a lot of ordinance, especially for one guy. I wonder if he's in a group? Heck, if I'm going to join a survivalist group, I want that kind of provisioning!! I'm VERY curious to find out how he managed to acquire all those toys. Should make for quite the story.

    Just imagine the looks you'd get as you fired off the first 40mm round at the range!!
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    VIP Member Array stormbringerr's Avatar
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    i don't think he could use all those weapons by himself. especially the machine guns.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    He's got friends. Very nervous friends.
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

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    Paramedics With Guns Scare People!

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    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    These incidents shed a very bad light on the rest of us. We're all grouped with idiots like this.
    Treat me good, I'll treat you better. Treat me bad, I'll treat you worse.

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    Member Array Randy's Avatar
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    He shouldn't have broken the law. That said, owning that kind of stuff shouldn't be against the law. Yet, here we are.

    Randy

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    Whether or not it should or shouldn't be against the law, the cache of these types of weapons, many of which are not easily owned legally, suggests that there is way more to this story, and it won't be good stuff. At best, this is a lone-wolf with a few marbles too few upstairs. But, this could be the tip of an iceberg of some sort of serious conspiracy--be it armed robbery or terrorism. Bad stuff, and though it should not reflect on us, it unfortunately does.

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