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Press Release

Morrison Man Arrested For Possession Of Improvised Explosive Devices

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DENVER – Richard Lawrence Sandberg, age 35, of Morrison, Colorado, was arrested this morning by Special Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), United States Attorney John Walsh and ATF Special Agent in Charge Andrew Traver announced.  Sandberg appeared in U.S. District Court this afternoon where he was advised of his rights and the charges pending against him.  He is being held without bond pending a detention hearing.  The detention hearing and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for January 29, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Watanabe.

Because there was a likelihood of improvised explosive devices in the Sandberg home, ATF agents, working closely with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office cordoned off an area around the home while conducting their search.  Agents ultimately removed multiple improvised explosive devices, which were taken to a remote location and rendered safe.  Three different bomb squads assisted the ATF, including the Denver Police Department Bomb Squad, the Jefferson County Sheriff Bomb Squad and the Colorado Springs Regional Explosives Unit.  All were at the scene this morning, documenting evidence and assisting in handling the devices.

According to the affidavit in support of the Criminal Complaint, the investigation began when a Denver Police detective learned from a confidential informant that an individual who possessed improvised explosive devices.  The detective contacted ATF regarding this information.  ATF, acting on this information, worked with the confidential informant to introduce an undercover agent to meet the subject, who turned out to be Richard Sandberg.  After a number of phone conversations the undercover agent and the confidential informant went to Sandberg’s residence, where they were shown improvised explosive devices.  Sandberg reportedly said he wanted to trade the devices for cocaine, or for $300 each.

During the meeting Sandberg made numerous threatening statements towards law enforcement and specifically ATF.  He stated that he was a former Marine, which is when he learned how to build powerful explosive devices.  At the conclusion of the meeting, Sandberg gave the undercover agent three devices, which contained explosive powder, a fuse and shrapnel in the form of stainless steel ball bearings.  ATF confirmed that Sandberg was not allowed to possess such devices according to the National Firearms Registry. 

“Improvised Explosive Devices – IEDs – are against federal law, and with good reason:  They have no legitimate purpose, and put an entire neighborhood at risk,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “Thanks to strong cooperation between state, local and federal law enforcement in this case, a person who built IEDs has been apprehended and those devices recovered and neutralized.”

“ATF agents, working closely with our local law enforcement partners, identified and arrested a potentially violent individual who was posing a significant danger to the community,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge, Andrew Traver.  “Through this cooperative effort, we were able to remove numerous destructive devices and stop any further potential harm to the citizens of Morrison, Colorado.”

Sandberg is currently charged with one count of possession of a firearm (which includes explosive devices) which is not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.  If convicted, the defendant faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and a fine of not more than $250,000.

This case was investigated by ATF, the Denver Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Sandberg is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Sibert.

A Criminal Complaint is a probable cause charging document.  Anyone accused of committing a federal felony crime has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a federal grand jury.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Updated April 17, 2023