TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A man has been arrested after being accused of making and distributing a destructive device and explosive materials.
On Nov. 1, James John Hall, 34, sent pictures of a pipe bomb that he had made at his house to someone he had sold firearms to in the past, the Tampa Police Department said. One photo showed three to four plastic jars painted camouflaged and taped together. Another photo showed a pipe taped to the top of a plastic jar.
According to officials, in conversations, Hall explained that he had contemplated using the pipe bomb to target an individual he was angry with.
However, the person Hall was in contact with was a confidential source with the TPD. The confidential source then told a detective with the department that Hall was in possession of a pipe bomb. The detective was also a task force officer with the FBI.
The FBI contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF) which then enlisted the help of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and the Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office.
According to authorities, five agents worked together to get the bomb by setting up a plan to purchase it from Hall for $800.
The next day on Nov. 2, officers with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office purchased the pipe at the meeting with Hall. During the meeting, the undercover officers were also asked if they would like to purchase a firearm, which they did.
A preliminary investigation by ATF showed that the object obtained from Hall was a destructive device that was designed to detonate so that the pipe would shatter, causing the particles to act as projectiles as they were pushed forward.
The device was a one-inch pipe, eight inches long with about three pounds of ammonium nitrate that also included a fuse and magnet.
According to ATF, the device could have killed/injured anyone within 300 yards. If it was attached to a vehicle or magnet, the device would have been even more dangerous, as the vehicle itself would become part of the device.
Hall was charged in federal court with three violations: Making an unlawful firearm, unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm and illegal distribution of explosive materials.
He is facing up to 30 years in prison.
“This is a message to anyone and everyone who illegally makes, possess, or distributes explosive materials or an unregistered destructive device, you will be investigated,” the FBI and Pasco County Sheriff’s Office stated.