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Bomb material linked to militia • Monday November 4, 2002

The Jackson Citizen Patriot, Nov. 3, 2002
By Steven Hepker

A 56-year-old retired teacher says bomb materials found in a hole on her property Thursday were her late husband’s and they were stolen from her barn.

“I moved the stuff out of the house and into the barn 30 days after my husband died, and someone must have broken in and taken it,” she said.

The newspaper is not using her name because police have not charged her with any crime.

The woman was shocked early Thursday morning when she said dozens of state, local and federal officers entered her Parma Township property.

“They broke down my door, threw me down, handcuffed my arms behind my back and stuck a gun in my face,” she said.

Her husband had a federal license to keep and use explosive materials for various projects, including removing stumps on their land. He also was in the militia.

Sheriff Hank Zavislak said Friday the explosives might be linked to a militia unit in Calhoun County and Parma Township.

The land owner said she believes someone called police with a tip about explosives and guns buried on her property. Police found an area that appeared recently excavated, and asked the land owner if they could use her backhoe.

She didn’t want police to use her equipment, so she dug up the cache using her tractor, she said. Investigators said they recovered enough explosives to blow up a 1,500-square-foot house, plus blasting caps, a detonating cord, two unregistered handguns and a stun gun.

The land owner said one of the guns was hers, and that the stun gun is 20 years old and doesn’t work. She said she gave police a copy of her late husband’s federal license for possessing explosive devices.

“He bought all of the explosives on the up-and-up,” she said.

Agents from Jackson Narcotics Enforcement Team and the federal Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms are investigating.

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