PINE – Construction crews digging in Pine, Arizona this fall uncovered a large stash of stolen military explosives and the government says it needs the public's help figuring out who buried it.
On Wednesday, October 25, 80 M112 blocks of C4 military explosives, nine M18A1 Claymore anti-personnel mines with firing devices and one roll of military detonating cord were unearthed while a construction crew was clearing land for a horse corral on a residential property in southeast Pine.
While digging, a dozer grazed a cylinder in the ground. The crew found six large PVC pipes buried in the ground containing the explosives.
“The person or persons responsible obviously took great steps to preserve these items in a remote location and wanted to preserve their condition encasing them in cylinder containers,” said Special Agent Thomas Mangan with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Based on codes on the explosives, officials believe they were manufactured in the 1960s around the time of the Vietnam War and had been buried for at least 20 years.
“I have been in Arizona since 1987 and this is one of the largest military explosive recoveries that I have seen,” he said.
Records from the 1960s are limited and officials have exhausted all possible leads.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) and U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command (CID) are requesting assistance for information.
$10,000 reward offered
ATF has announced a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the theft of these military explosives.
“The ATF, along with our law enforcement partners are committed to ensuring that our communities are safe and that those who violate federal explosive laws are held accountable,” said John Durastanti, Special Agent in Charge for the ATF Phoenix Field Division. “We encourage anyone that might have information regarding the theft of these military explosives or burial of them to come forward and contact law enforcement.”
K9s trained to search out explosives were brought in and searched the site, but found no additional explosives, Mangan said.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call the ATF hotline at 888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477) or send an email to ATFTips@atf.gov. Citizens can also send a text anonymously via the ReportIt® mobile app, available through www.reportit.com, using the ATF Phoenix Field Division as the location.