Teen jailed in bomb probe, another wanted
A pair of teenagers are accused of making crude bombs — packing nails and pennies inside Jagermeister and beer bottles — which brought out Grand Junction’s Bomb Squad to Fruitvale’s Racquet Club apartments one day this past summer.
One suspect said they weren’t extremists and didn’t want to hurt anyone, but were just “bored” one day, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Alexzander Munfrada, 19, was advised Thursday on charges of possession; use, or removal of explosives or incendiary devices; and misdemeanor reckless endangerment, one day after his arrest on a Mesa County Sheriff’s Office warrant.
County Court Judge Craig Henderson set bond Thursday at $50,000, cash only, calling the allegations “disturbing.” A high bond was justified and it’s “better to err on the side of public safety,” Henderson said.
A reputed friend of Munfrada’s, Seth Brewer, 18, is wanted by the Sheriff’s Office on a no-bond warrant with identical charges stemming from the same incident July 7 at the Racquet Club complex, 2915 Orchard Ave.
Officers and deputies spent roughly two hours on July 7 assessing improvised explosives found inside a backpack in a unit in building E, which is part of the complex. The items were disposed of that day in the desert near Grand Junction.
Authorities got involved after a man who lives at the complex reported that a friend, Munfrada, had spent the night and left July 4. Munfrada had forgotten his backback, the affidavit said. When the man opened it July 7, he was disturbed by what he saw.
“When he opened it he noticed what appeared to be a beer bottle wrapped in duct tape and had a fuse coming out of the top of it,” the affidavit said. “(Man) thought he saw what he believed was a liquor bottle wrapped in duct tape with a fuse coming out of the top of it and it was filled with gun powder. (Man) stated there were two bottles of gun powder he thought was mostly full and there was what he called ‘bobcat’ mortars.”
Authorities deemed the devices capable of killing someone, the affidavit said.
Inside the liquor bottle, officers found a black and white powder, suspected gunpowder, “balls” determined to be shotgun pellets and a green fuse coming out of a cap. The beer bottle had similar pellets, but also nails, a screw, pennies, more powder and a fuse.
The affidavit describes ignition sources for the devices.
Munfrada, who was contacted July 7, admitted having his backpack at the Racquet Club apartment unit, but told a deputy it was empty. Law enforcement searched the home of Munfrada’s mother in the 2900 block of Sandra Avenue, where he was living at the time, and found numerous items consistent with the improvised devices in the backpack.
Deputies, also on July 7, interviewed Brewer, who said he and Munfrada “got bored” so “he (Brewer) did the Jager bottle and Alex did the beer bottle,” according to the affidavit. He said they went “to the desert” with what they made but didn’t blow anything up because they were stopped by a “park ranger.”
“(Brewer) denied having any extremist political beliefs. He denied waging Jihad. He denied having any desire to hurt other people,” a deputy wrote in the affidavit.
Despite the flurry of law enforcement activity July 7, and expressed concern in the affidavit about public safety, authorities didn’t immediately move to arrest their two suspects.
“Due to other events in the county (I) was unable to complete this warrant until 7/18/13,” an investigator wrote in the affidavit, addressing Munfrada’s warrant.
Brewer’s warrant wasn’t signed by a judge until Aug. 22.