Anderson Man Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Using Weapons of Mass Destruction
Greenville, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that Wesley Dallas Ayers, 27, of Anderson, South Carolina, pled guilty in federal court to using, attempting to use, and threatening to use weapons of mass destruction; possession and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime; and use of an explosive device during the commission of a felony.
Ayers admitted that he constructed, and then placed, three explosive devices in various parts of Anderson County between January 24, 2018, and February 24, 2018. A device placed by Ayers on January 30, 2018, at the intersection of Travis and Martin Roads, in Anderson County, detonated and injured one individual. The other two devices, which Ayers also placed in or near area roadways, were intercepted and rendered safe by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
In that same timeframe, Ayers placed three hoax devices, which resembled explosives but did not contain any blasting agent. With some of those devices, the defendant left threatening messages that more, and more powerful, devices were to come.
Ayers was arrested after an exhaustive month-long investigation, with the combined efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives, and Firearms, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, and numerous law enforcement agencies from around the State of South Carolina. DNA and other forensic evidence associated Ayers with the various devices. Additionally, a search of his property produced numerous items consistent with the manufacture of the same.
Ayers faces a mandatory sentence of at least 20 years in federal prison, and up to a maximum of life imprisonment, in addition to a fine of $250,000 and up to 3 years of court-ordered supervision.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in conjunction with numerous other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Assistant United States Attorney D. Josev Brewer of the Greenville office is prosecuting the case.