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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ohio Man Indicted for Receiving Grenade Fuzes in Blount County

BIRMINGHAM -- A federal grand jury today indicted an Ohio man for illegally receiving about 1,340 M228 grenade fuzes in Blount County last year, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Steven L. Gerido.

A one-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges JAMES WILLIAM COPLEY, 54, of Akron, Ohio, with knowingly receiving explosive materials on Oct. 22.

The M228 grenade fuzes are igniting fuzes meant for training grenades, which are not intended to project shrapnel. The fuzes, however, can be used with improvised grenades and explosive devices. ATF regulates M228 fuzes as low explosives and anyone selling or buying them is required to have a Federal Explosive License.

"Tight regulations on transactions involving any explosive material are required in order to protect public safety," Vance said. "That safety is threatened when anyone who has not obtained the proper federal license possesses explosives. We will actively pursue prosecution of those individuals," she said.

A Hayden man, Matthew Joseph Smith, pleaded guilty in federal court in June to selling about 1,340 M228 grenade fuses in October to someone who was not licensed to possess them. Smith owns Whispertech, an explosives materials dealer and training company.

The maximum penalty for receiving explosive material without a proper license is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The ATF investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney John B. Felton is prosecuting.

An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

Updated July 30, 2015