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Justice News

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

Monday, January 27, 2014

Morrison Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Possession Of Destructive Devices

DENVER – Richard Lawrence Sandberg, age 36, of Morrison, Colorado, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer to serve 51 months in federal prison for two counts of possession of unregistered firearms, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Luke Franey announced.  Following his prison sentence, Judge Brimmer ordered Sandberg to serve 3 years on supervised release.  The defendant appeared at the hearing in custody, and was remanded at the hearing’s conclusion.

Sandberg was first charged by Criminal Complaint on January 23, 2013.  He was then indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on January 28, 2013.  The defendant pled guilty on June 27, 2013.  He was sentenced today, January 27, 2014.

According to court documents, the investigation began when a Denver Police detective learned from a confidential informant that an individual possessed destructive devices.  The detective contacted ATF regarding this information.  ATF, working with the confidential informant, introduced an undercover agent to meet the subject.  The subject 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 the destructive devices.  Sandberg reportedly said he wanted to trade the devices for cocaine.

During the meeting, Sandberg made numerous threatening statements towards law enforcement and specifically the ATF.  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.  A subsequent search of Sandberg’s residence resulted in the seizure of 28 additional destructive devices, several hundred rounds of ammunition, a 5.56 caliber rifle and a 12 gauge shotgun.  All of the seized items were found in the garage.

“Possession of unregistered destructive devices are dangerous not only to the person who possesses them, but also to others who live nearby,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “Sandberg possessed these illegal unregistered devices in a residential neighborhood, putting many, including children, at risk.  His prison sentence will ensure that neighborhood is a safer place.”

“We are extremely happy with the outcome of this investigation,” said Denver ATF Special Agent in Charge Luke Franey.  “Our agents have dedicated their careers to protecting the public and preventing violent crime.  This investigation is a great example of both.”

This case was investigated by ATF, the Denver Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.  The Denver Police Department Bomb Squad, the Jefferson County Sheriff Bomb Squad and the Colorado Springs Regional Explosives Unit provided assistance at Sandberg’s residence, where the destructive devices were found.

Sandberg was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Sibert with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney David Tonini.

Updated June 22, 2015