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Press Release

Jones County Man Convicted for Unlawful Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device

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

Hattiesburg, Miss. – Brian Richard Sanders, 66, of Laurel, pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett, to the unlawful possession of an explosive destructive device not registered in the national firearms registration and transfer record, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Special Agent-in-Charge Kurt Thielhorn with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). 

Sanders is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Starrett on November 18, 2020, at 11:00 a.m.  He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

On January 17, 2020, the ATF and the Jones County Sheriff’s Office received information that  Sanders had manufactured and possessed an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in his home in Laurel.  The Sheriff’s Office obtained a search warrant for his home. ATF agents and members of the City of Biloxi Police Department Bomb Squad assisted in the search.  Agents seized a pipe bomb, two bottles of black powder, a roll of red hobby fuse, several firearms, and ammunition.  Additionally, they found a rifle that had what appeared to be a silencer attached. 

An ATF Explosive Specialist/Bomb Technician, and Biloxi Bomb Squad members successfully disassembled the device in a safe area near the home, and were able to recover all pieces including the pipe with end-caps, red fuse, suspected black powder, and nails.  As a destructive device, the pipe bomb was considered a firearm as defined within the National Firearms Act (NFA).

A query was conducted with the ATF National Firearms Act Division, which confirmed that  both the pipe bomb explosive destructive device and silencer were not registered.  A laboratory verified that the pipe bomb was in fact an explosive destructive device that was or readily could be made operable. The ATF also confirmed that the homemade silencer was a functioning silencer. 

U.S. Attorney Hurst commended the coordinated investigation by the ATF, the Jones County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Biloxi Police Department Bomb Squad.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stan Harris.                                           

Updated July 30, 2020

Firearms Offenses