BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Williston man accused of stealing explosives from companies operating in the North Dakota oil patch and stashing them in his home also had prohibited guns, more than 1,100 rounds of ammunition and books on how to build explosives, federal authorities said.
According to court documents, an informant told a regional drug task force that Tyler Porter planned to sell the explosives for thousands of dollars.
Porter, 35, is charged in U.S. District Court with stealing and possessing explosives, possessing an unregistered short-barreled rifle and being a felon in possession of firearms. If convicted, he could face up to 40 years in federal prison.
The Associated Press requested comment Thursday from the federal public defender’s office that is representing him.
Authorities allege Porter stole more than 200 explosives this spring from two Williston-based oil field service companies by using a cutting torch to open padlocked bunkers. According to an affidavit filed by U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agent Daniel Mehlhoff, the informant told a task force agent that Porter had explosives in his home and planned to sell some of them.
Porter was arrested May 13. Authorities who searched his home and vehicle found explosives, numerous guns and ammunition, a backpack with equipment such as lock picks and a headlamp, and books titled “Field Methods for Explosives Preparations” and “Improvised Explosives — How to Make Your Own,” according to Mehlhoff.
Porter initially faced felony theft and drug charges in state court, but those charges were dismissed Wednesday with the transfer of the case to federal court. Mehlhoff said federal court has jurisdiction because the explosives were manufactured outside of North Dakota.
Porter has a lengthy criminal history including convictions on terrorizing and assault charges in North Dakota and burglary and grand larceny in South Carolina.
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