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Press Release

Richlands Man Faces Federal Charge of Lying to Federal Agents About Cause of Injuries, Possession of Explosives

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia

ABINGDON, Va. – In a federal criminal complaint issued yesterday, a Richlands, Va. man, who appeared at a health clinic with severe injuries to his hands and fingers, is charged with lying to federal investigators about how he was injured and whether or not he possessed explosives. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen, David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division, Special Agent in Charge Ashan M. Benedict of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Washington Field Division, and Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of the Virginia State Police made the announcement today.

Cole Carini, 23, was arrested yesterday and is charged with one count of lying to federal agents. He will make his initial appearance in later today in U.S. District Court.

According to court documents, on June 3, 2020, Carini went to a health clinic in Richlands suffering from an amputated hand, amputated fingers on the opposite hand, and shrapnel wounds to the neck and throat. After being interviewed at the hospital by officers, Carini reported that his injuries were caused by a lawn mower accident at his home.

During a search of Carini’s home, agents found the lawn was overgrown and found no other evidence indicating a lawn mower had recently been used. They did, however, find evidence of an explosion, more consistent with the types of injuries Carini had suffered.  Agents also discovered significant quantities of what is believed to be Triacetone Triperoxide, an explosive substance used in the creation of improvised explosive devices.

When questioned again, Carini insisted that he was injured when the lawn mower flipped over while he was mowing the grass.  Carini also stated he had no explosives in his residence.

The investigation of the case is ongoing and is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Virginia State Police, the Richlands Police Department and the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Zachary T. Lee and Whit Pierce are prosecuting the case for the United States.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.       

Updated June 5, 2020