Acting on a tip, Lake Helen police went to 292 W. Pennsylvania Ave. at 3:30 p.m. where they found the chemical triacetone triperoxide, which is known as TATP. They also discovered other bomb-making materials, police Chief Mike Walker said.
“He tried to explain to us that he was making his own version of a firework,” Walker said.
Lake Helen police called the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office for help from the bomb squad, he said.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood said law enforcement was shocked to learn the chemical found in a Mason jar was TATP, which is popular with terrorists.
“It’s so volatile, so dangerous that al-Qaida calls it the mother of satan,” Chitwood said.
Jared Coburn, 37, was arrested and charged with manufacturing an explosive device and likely will face more charges as the investigation progresses, according to a news release from Andrew Gant, sheriff’s spokesman.
Coburn consented to having the home searched, Bomb Squad commander Lt. Lou Marino said. That search turned up three ready-made explosive devices.
Investigators said they believe Coburn made the chemical because it is easily manufactured using products for home use such as nail polish.
The tipster who led police to the home also told them that a manufactured bomb was under a bed. When police found the initial devices they withdrew from the home, investigators said.
A search warrant was signed by a judge Tuesday night, according to Gant, and a search of the house for additional explosives was to follow.
The devices found in the residence of Coburn are so delicate they will not be moved to the Sheriff’s Office’s disposal field, Chitwood said. He said the plan is to detonate the material underground in a nearby field, allowing for the collection of evidence afterward.
A tweet from the Sheriff’s Office at 9:31 p.m. stated that detonation of the items had begun. The tweet stated: “If you heard a boom in Lake Helen, that was us detonating one of the items. All good. There will be more booms, so don’t be alarmed!”
A terrorist task force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other law enforcement officials were on scene, authorities said. Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration has posted a temporary no-fly zone in the area.
Chitwood said the chemical TATP is favored by terrorists who have carried out bombings in Manchester, England; Spain; and other places in Europe.
“Shoe Bomber” Richard Reid used it when he tried to detonate a bomb on board an airplane going from Paris to Miami in 2001, he said.
“This is a highly volatile chemical that people using it sometimes end up blowing up themselves,” Chitwood. “And it’s a favorite of suicide bombers because I think the chemical nitrate, am I right in saying that, nitrate’s missing from it so when you have the things to try to detect explosiveness, it doesn’t really pass the muster for that technology because it’s missing the one component of nitrate,” he said.
Authorities did not release much personal information about Coburn but did say that he works as a parachute packer.
“It’s scary,” said Nicole Sullivan, who lives about a block from where the devices were found. “This is a very dangerous world we live in.”
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