17-year-old boy was making bombs at Atwater home and selling them online, deputies say

The teenager is facing felony charges associated with possessing, manufacturing and possibly the sale of explosives.

Jessica Harrington Image
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
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An Atwater teenager has been arrested, accused of making explosive devices and selling them on the internet.

ATWATER, Calif. (KFSN) -- An Atwater teenager has been arrested, accused of making explosive devices and selling them on the internet.

Early on Monday morning, multiple agencies, including the Merced Police Department's bomb squad and Merced County Sheriff's Office, filled Pacemaker Drive near Mary Lane in Atwater.

Investigators were there serving a search warrant at a home where they were looking for explosive devices and materials.

"We received a tip yesterday in the afternoon from the FBI saying there as a 17-year-old juvenile who was on the internet making threats about explosive devices and things of that nature," said Daryl Allen with the Merced County Sheriff's Office.

The 17-year-old high school student was arrested after law enforcement found several explosive devices and items that are used to make them.

Investigators say their initial investigation doesn't show there was ever a threat to the teen's high school, but they're still trying to determine exactly how he was planning on using them.

"From what we found, he was just mostly using them to sell on the internet," said Allen.

Detectives say he used public forums where he would post pictures of items he claimed to have.

Those forums included ones frequented by a far right movement.

"We do know that he was engaging in chatrooms and platforms where they were occupied by right-wing extremists groups like the Boogaloo Boys and groups like that." MCSO Sgt. Clint Landrum said.

Officials say they believe the items they seized prevented the potential for a mass casualty situation.

The teen is facing felony charges associated with possessing, manufacturing and possibly the sale of explosives.

Deputies say it's a warning for parents to pay attention to what their kids are doing online.

"We all need to be cognizant of things like this to prevent potentially worse things from happening." Sgt. Landrum said.

Officials say the 17-year-old and his parents are cooperating with investigators.

They say at this time it's unknown if the parents will face any charges.

The investigation is ongoing.