Homemade bombs safely detonated

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005

GARYSBURG – What started as a search for marijuana turned into something the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office didn’t bargain for here Tuesday.

Michael Thomas Carpenter, 36, of 336 Taylor Road, Garysburg is being held under a half-million dollar cash bond in the Northampton County Jail after three pipe bombs, other bomb-making materials and numerous weapons were found in his residence.

&uot;As of right now, we don’t know what’s going on here, but it’s our full intention to find out,&uot; Northampton Sheriff Wardie Vincent said as he spoke by cell phone from the scene on Wednesday morning. &uot;The investigation is ongoing.&uot;

Vincent said Northampton deputies, armed with a search warrant, had gone to Carpenter’s residence based upon allegations that Carpenter was growing marijuana. Upon arrival, deputies located 30 marijuana plants growing in what Vincent described as &uot;starter plants.&uot; The search also revealed drug paraphernalia.

While searching the residence, deputies noticed what appeared to be a book bag on a table. A search of the bag revealed a pipe bomb. Two other pipe bombs plus black powder and fuse cords were also discovered.

&uot;We immediately pulled back at that point and notified the SBI (State Bureau of Investigation) and ATF (Division of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms),&uot; Vincent said.

The SBI sent its bomb disposal unit from Raleigh while the ATF responded with several agents.

&uot;The bomb squad was able to remove the three bombs and safely detonate them in a nearly field,&uot; Vincent said.

With the bombs out of the way, law enforcement officers conducted an extensive search of the residence. That search revealed 35-to-40 firearms plus cases of ammunition. Other bomb-making materials were also found.

Vincent said the firearms were found throughout the residence, some in a baby’s crib and others in the duct work, under furniture and in cabinets.

Carpenter was not at the residence. He was arrested later on Tuesday at a residence on Pony Track Road near the Faison’s Old Tavern community. He was transported to Jackson and formally charged with possession of weapons of mass destruction. Additional charges of manufacturing marijuana and possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana resulted in a $25,000 secured bond on top of the $500,000 cash bond for the weapons charge.

Sheriff Vincent thanked the SBI and ATF for their assistance as well as the Jackson Police, Garysburg Fire Department and Gaston Rescue Squad.

&uot;I’d also like to thank the citizens of the Taylor Road area for the assistance we received in this case in reference to the information they supplied concerning the alleged drug trafficking occurring at the residence,&uot; Vincent closed.