WACO — A Copperas Cove man suspected of having pipe bombs was arraigned Thursday in federal court.
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokeswoman Franceska Perot said Jason Alan Garthwaite Sr., a soldier at Fort Hood, was arraigned by Judge Jeffrey Manske on a federal charge of possession of an unregistered destructive device.
Garthwaite was transported to Waco after being arraigned Wednesday in Copperas Cove on charges of prohibited weapon and abandoning or endangering a child. Justice of the Peace Bill Price set his bond at $250,000 on the local charges.
On Tuesday, a witness told Copperas Cove police officers Garthwaite made a strange request to remove a bag from his house, according to Coryell County arrest affidavits. The officer went to the home in the 400 block of South Seventh Street and found the bag, which allegedly contained pipe bombs and related materials.
The witness told officers Garthwaite was home with his son the day before the bag was discovered, the arrest affidavit stated.
Following the bag’s discovery, police and a Fort Hood bomb squad searched the home. As a precaution, several area residences were evacuated from about 5 p.m. Tuesday until the search concluded at almost 3 a.m. Wednesday. About two blocks of Meggs and South Seventh streets were blocked off during the search.
Cove police contacted the ATF and the FBI after making the arrest, which is a standard practice in similar cases, Perot said. “Both agencies responded, and we looked at what he had there, and ATF filed charges,” he said. “For the federal penalty, it is a maximum of 10 years.”
Garthwaite is a specialist in the Army. The infantryman is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, according to the III Corps Public Affairs Office. He arrived at Fort Hood in August 2010 after entering the Army in February 2010.
III Corps is aware of the civilian police investigation involving Garthwaite, but declined further comment.