MANHATTAN U.S. ATTORNEY CHARGES CONNECTICUT RESIDENT WITH MANUFACTURING EXPLOSIVES AND DISTRIBUTING THEM IN NEW YORK CITY

United States Attorney
Southern District of New York

MAY 31, 2011 ELLEN DAVIS, CARLY SULLIVAN,

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, JANICE K. FEDARCYK, the Assistant
Director-In-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation (“FBI”), and RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police
Commissioner of the City of New York, announced today the filing
of an Indictment against NICHOLAS LAHINES for manufacturing,
dealing, transporting, and distributing explosive materials
without a license. LAHINES, 37, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, was
arrested in the Bronx on May 19, 2011, immediately after selling
eight cylinders containing explosives to a confidential source of
the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (the “CS”). On May 20,
2011, LAHINES was charged in a criminal complaint, presented in
Manhattan federal court before Magistrate Judge HENRY B. PITMAN
and ordered detained.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA stated: “As
alleged, Nicholas Lahines was very proud of his bomb making
prowess, and more than happy to offer specific instructions on
how to detonate his creations to maximize the harm they caused.
The fact that he is in custody and no longer a danger to the
public is a measure of how seriously we, along with our law
enforcement partners, take the illegal manufacture and sale of
explosives, regardless of the seller’s motivation or
affiliation.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge JANICE K. FEDARCYK
stated: “Regardless of what purpose was intended, the defendant’s
illegal manufacture and distribution of explosives is a serious
matter, and the FBI treated it seriously. The defendant’s
interest in explosives, even absent any specific plan by him to
cause harm, nonetheless posed a serious threat to public safety.
He clearly was willing to sell explosive devices without regard
to how they would be used.”
NYPD Police Commissioner RAYMOND W. KELLY stated: “NYPD
detectives and FBI agents worked successfully together to avert
potential serious injury and death that these devices were
capable of delivering. Congratulations to them and to US Attorney
Bharara and his staff in bringing this individual to justice.”
According to the Indictment filed today in Manhattan
federal court and the criminal Complaint filed on May 20, 2011:
In late April 2011, law enforcement officers suspected
that an individual, later identified as NICHOLAS LAHINES, was
involved in the distribution of explosive devices. On May 19,
law enforcement officers conducted surveillance of LAHINES’s
residence in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and followed him as he
drove to a parking lot in Bronx County, where the CS entered
LAHINES’s car. LAHINES then retrieved two plastic containers
from the trunk and gave the plastic containers to the CS. Each
of those containers held four cylindrical explosive devices.
LAHINES then discussed the devices with the CS, and
explained, among other things, the components that he had used to
make the devices, the fact that he had inserted ball bearings
within the devices, and that, in the past, he had added glass and
metal to such devices. The CS paid LAHINES $3,200 for the
devices, and got out of the car. LAHINES was then placed under
arrest. The Joint Terrorism Task Force Bomb Technicians took
custody of the devices, one of which later tested positive for
the presence of gunpowder, and secured LAHINES’s car.
Law enforcement officers searched LAHINES’s Connecticut
residence from the evening of his arrest on May 19 through early
the next morning, pursuant to a search warrant, and obtained,
among other things, tubes, cord-like material and caps similar in
appearance to those used to construct the eight cylindrical
devices that LAHINES sold to the CS, and a plastic container
holding a powder whose appearance was consistent with that of
gunpowder. A small jar of white powdery residue, also found in
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the residence, detonated in the course of being examined, causing
injury to at least one law enforcement officer at the scene.
* * *
The Indictment charges LAHINES with five offenses which
carry the following potential penalties:
Count Charge Maximum
Prison Term
1 Manufacture and Dealing in Explosive
Materials Without a License
10 Years
2 Transportation of Explosive Materials
Without a License
10 Years
3 Distribution of Explosive Materials
Without a License
10 Years
4 Manufacture and Dealing in Firearms
Without a License
5 Years
5 Transportation of a Destructive Device In
Interstate Commerce Without a License
5 Years
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge
LEONARD B. SAND. LAHINES is scheduled to be arraigned on the
charges in the Indictment on June 2, 2011, at 10:00 a.m.
Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative efforts of the
FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (“JTTF”) in New York and
Connecticut, especially those JTTF members from the FBI and the
New York City Police Department, the Bronx District Attorney’s
Office, the Connecticut State Police Department, the FBI New
Haven Field Office, the trial attorneys with the U.S. Department
of Justice’s National Security Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s
Office for the District of Connecticut. He also thanked Kimberly
Mertz, the FBI Special Agent-in-Charge of the New Haven Field
Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys JOHN P. CRONAN and SEAN S.
BUCKLEY from the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics
Unit are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges and allegations contained in the Indictment
are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent
unless and until proven guilty.
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