CLEVELAND (WJW) — Video released to the FOX 8 I-Team takes you inside the investigation into explosives found during a traffic stop.
And, we’ve found detectives and prosecutors have spent weeks deciding if the driver should face federal charges.
Two months ago, an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper pulled over a car. And, video obtained by the I-team reveals how a secret inside the car led to questions about explosives.
The trooper first asks the driver, “Nothing illegal in the car? No drugs, pills?…” The driver answers, “No.”
But, troopers and Cleveland police take a closer look in the car and get suspicious. They even call in the bomb squad.
An officer says, “Look like smoke bombs.” Another responds with, “Well, they’re not pipe bombs.”
A trooper then says, “He’s got some mortars and stuff. Looks like homemade … just really suspicious.”
Body camera video shows officers at the scene are not satisfied with the explanation from that driver. He said the explosives are simply used to get rid of rodents on a farm.
A Cleveland Police officer asks the driver,
“What is in the cooler?” The driver says, “….mortars and stuff.” So, the officer asks, “What’s the stick thing with a fuse in it? Any BB’s in there?” The driver says, “Yes.”
And that leads the officer to ask for clarification, “So, you put it inside ,and whatever explosive, it’s gonna go off with BB’s in it?”
The driver, then, explains, “I was hoping it was gonna blow up and kill as many rats as possible.”
The officer follow up with, “Think it may not be safe to be driving around with?”
State troopers arrested the driver. And, some initial charges were filed for a gun in the car. But, we’ve learned this case then sparked a big debate. Did those explosives rise to the level of a federal crime?
The driver also told police, “Those are standard fireworks.”
And, the officer countered with, “But, you put BB’s in it. That changes the whole complexion.”
Sources close to the case say the discovery did not involve a lot of explosives. Yet, the video shows the unusual combination found led investigators to ask, ‘What is it?’ And. ‘What kind of crime is it?’
In fact, an officer ended the encounter on the highway by asking, “You want to be a test case for that?”
The driver answered, “No.”
Court records show the initial gun charge was dismissed and sent to be considered by a county grand jury. But, it has not yet been heard by a grand jury. And, no county or federal charges have been filed yet for the explosives. So, FOX 8 has decided not to name the driver until charges are filed.