Court documents show that the Copperas Cove soldier charged with federal weapons crimes Thursday had the components to build eight pipe bombs.
Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives charged Spc. Jason Alan Garthwaite, 24, with possession of an unregistered destructive device for allegedly constructing bombs in his Copperas Cove home.
Garthwaite is now being held in a federal facility after being transferred from Coryell County Jail on Thursday for his arraignment in Waco. A federal judge ordered he be held in lieu of bond.
A criminal complaint filed Thursday stated police found eight galvanized metal pipes and caps, three pounds of black gun powder and other unspecified items believed to be components to “anti-personnel devices.”
Garthwaite had completed at least one explosive device, the complaint stated.
Copperas Cove police found all the items after Garthwaite’s wife contacted police. She showed police text messages describing the purchase, construction and function of the devices.
In the text messages, Garthwaite also instructed his wife to hide a bag that contained all the pipes and gunpowder because he had been alerted to law enforcement wishing to speak with him, the complaint stated.
Police located the bag and found all the components inside. Their discovery led authorities to call out Fort Hood’s bomb squad, and forced several residents of the area near the 400 block of South Seventh Street to evacuate their homes for several hours.
Copperas Cove police also charged him with possession of a prohibited weapon and endangering a child. Garthwaite has a preliminary hearing set for Thursday in federal court.
Contact Philip Jankowski at email@example.com or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.