News and Press Releases

Defendant Sold Dangerously Illegal Explosives to Indian Reservation Fireworks Stands

April 25, 2008

SCOTT STEVEN NELSON, 38, of Tokeland, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to three years of probation for Engaging in the Business of Manufacturing and Dealing Explosive Materials. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of ten years.

At sentencing today the prosecutor noted that NELSON was working with highly volatile explosives on residential property creating a potential of great danger to his family. U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton told NELSON that by imposing a term of probation, he did not minimize the seriousness of the offense. He characterized NELSON’s conduct as “grossly irresponsible” and told him that he was now a convicted felon, a status that would be “an obstacle and an embarrasment” and a constant “reminder of your stupidity.” NELSON acknowledged that his conduct was wrong and dangerous. He added that he has had dreams of flash powder exploding in his face leaving him grotesquely disfigured.

According to records filed in the case, federal and local law enforcement officers received a tip that NELSON was making and selling illegal explosive devices at his property in Tokeland and selling them at various fireworks stands in the Nisquallly Indian Reservation. On October 24, 2006, with the assistance of deputies from the Pacific County Sheriff’s Department, special agents of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched sheds on NELSON’s property, finding 50 live explosive devices, approximately 500 feet of pyrotechnic fuse, and about two pounds of chemical precursors used to make flash powder. Inside NELSON’s residence agents discovered twenty more pounds of those chemicals. NELSON directed agents to a cache containing 1,300 M-80 type explosive devices, 75 tennis ball bombs, and 14 sky rockets. NELSON admitted to the agents that he did not have a license to make explosives.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Pacific County Sheriff’s Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney William H. Redkey, Jr.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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