WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Trial has been scheduled for a northwestern North Dakota man accused of setting up an explosives manufacturing operation in his townhouse garage, where police discovered nearly 1,500 pounds of bomb-making materials.
Williston police updated the original estimate of 1,000 pounds after completing the removal and disposal of the materials Friday evening. Ross Petrie, 28, of Williston, is charged with a felony called ‘release of destructive forces.’
Trial for Petrie is set for Feb. 13. His attorney, Jeff Nehring, did not return a phone message left Saturday afternoon.
Officials say they evacuated more than 10 people from the building in which Petrie’s townhouse was located. The building will remain empty until police complete the inspection and deem the units safe for residents to return.
An affidavit of probable cause says law enforcement officers began serving a series of search warrants at Petrie’s residence Oct. 10 after being informed that a narcotics lab could possibly be in operation. That’s when they discovered explosive materials including powdered metals.
The release of the explosive materials would have “catastrophic consequences” not only for the immediate building but for the entire complex of townhouse buildings, the affidavit said. The criminal complaint and the probable cause affidavit do not include a motive for the explosives stockpile.
More information is expected to be released Monday, police said.