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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ketchikan Man Sentenced For Receipt And Possession Of Explosive Materials By A Felon

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that a Ketchikan man was sentenced today in federal court in Ketchikan for receipt and possession of explosive materials by a felon.

Joseph Duane Brown, 40, of Ketchikan, Alaska, was sentenced today by United States District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess, to a five-year term of probation, 30 days in a halfway house, and 300 hours of community work service.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack S. Schmidt, who prosecuted the case, the charges arose from an investigation conducted by the Ketchikan Police Department (KPD) related to the detonation of a series of explosive devices inside the Ketchikan Tunnel on July 4, 2013.  The explosions temporarily knocked out the central communications records management system for the KPD dispatch center, as well as scared the driver of a vehicle who drove through the tunnel, as their vehicle was “rattled” during the explosion.  The driver stated that the explosion was not a mere firework, but something “super dangerous.”

The investigation was later transferred to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATFE).  They determined that the explosive devices were perchlorate explosive mixture (seal bombs) and cap sensitive ammonium nitrate mixture (binary explosive mixture) that is typically used in exploding targets.  The investigation revealed that Joseph Duane Brown, a convicted felon, had assembled at least 20 one-pound explosive devices and daisy chained them together with a common fuse.  Brown used the perchlorate explosive mixture (seal bombs) as a detonator to set off the one-pound charges of cap sensitive ammonium nitrate mixture (binary explosive mixture).  Brown admitted that he purchased and assembled the ingredients to make the explosive devices and he was the one responsible for setting off the devices inside the Ketchikan Tunnel.  

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Burgess emphasized the seriousness of the offense and the need to deter the defendant and others, as reasons for imposing the five-year term of probation.

Ms. Loeffler commends the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATFE) and the Ketchikan Police Department for the investigation leading to the conviction in this case.

Updated February 4, 2016