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Press Release

Youngstown man charged with possession of explosive devices and illegal firearm

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

Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan announced today that a federal grand jury in Cleveland returned a three-count indictment charging Oliver Smith, age 51, of Youngstown, Ohio, with possession of explosive devices, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of an unregistered silencer.

“This defendant allegedly possessed multiple, functional improvised explosive devices that presented a significant and unacceptable threat to others,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan. “We are incredibly grateful to law enforcement for safely locating and securing these devices before anyone was seriously injured or killed.”

"This individual acquired dangerous explosive materials and firearms which he was prohibited from possessing,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith. “As in this case, the FBI encourages the public to report information like this to law enforcement and to stay alert for suspicious or criminal activity."

According to court documents, in October of 2020, the Adult Parole Authority (APA) and law enforcement agents learned that the defendant allegedly had in his possession a firearm with an attached silencer at his Youngstown-area residence. At the time of the incident, the defendant was on  Community Control under the supervision of the APA related to a previous conviction of drug possession and was prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a previous conviction of aggravated assault.

Law enforcement agents conducted a home visit and searched the defendant’s residence under the authority of the APA. The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint states that during the search, law enforcement officers located and seized multiple rounds of ammunition and a firearm with an attached silencer that was not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, as required by law.

After learning more information about additional potential weapons in the defendant’s residence,  law enforcement agents with the FBI executed a second search of the property. Officers recovered two arrows, which were allegedly modified and filled with explosive powder, wrapped in tape with nails, and tipped with detonators. Upon examination by FBI agents trained in explosive devices, these arrows were determined to be functional and could explode on impact.

Additionally, agents recovered two devices allegedly filled with explosive powder and ball bearings. Upon examination by FBI agents trained in explosive devices, these devices were determined to be functional and would explode upon electrical initiation, propelling the ball bearings as shrapnel.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.

In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum, and in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

This case was investigated by the APA and the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Duncan T. Brown.

Updated April 17, 2023

Firearms Offenses