Arizona: Probe Widens Into Missing Explosives (Y2K Connection) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Talking to my sister this morning in Northern Arizona, and she mentioned the local area police were VERY concerned about a recent explosives theft.

*VERY Big Sigh*


Probe widens into missing explosives

By Mark Shaffer
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 19, 1999

[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

ASH FORK - The investigation into the mysterious theft of 1,000 pounds of explosives from a northern Arizona mine spread statewide Saturday.

Coconino County Sheriff Joe Richards said his office has received several dozen tips from people around Arizona who say they may know who stole 750 pounds of fuel-soaked ammonium nitrate and 250 pounds of dynamite from the M.C. Sandstone Quarry, about 20 miles south of Ash Fork.

"There are no really solid leads, just information from the public who said they heard something," Richards said.

Folks all over Ash Fork are talking about what is one of the biggest news stories ever to hit the area.

A patron at the Oasis Bar in Ash Fork said three men came in dressed in camouflage on Friday night and talked about how they were going to "make a big bang" on Dec. 31.

Joe Percevecz, office manager of Stoneworld Co., a flagstone company inAsh Fork, is convinced it was an inside job.

"It would be impossible to get into those huge steel vaults without a key," Percevecz said. "In our company, there are only three people who have keys: the quarry foreman, the guy in charge of the storage yard and the owner."

Investigators from the Coconino County Sheriff's Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are checking leads in Paulden, Chino Valley, Flagstaff, Ash Fork, Phoenix and other parts of the state.

Experts said the stolen explosives, which include detonator cord and blasting caps, are enough to blow up a high-rise.

The theft was discovered late Monday or early Tuesday. Richards says there is no evidence that they were taken by survivalists or terrorists, "just a lot of speculation."

-- Diane J. Squire (, December 19, 1999


Just in case anyone wonders, and I'm sure some folks with more expertise can clarify, Ammonium Nitrate is what they call a "safe" explosive in that it doesn't readily burn and is not exactly easy to detonate. You have to pass a shockwave through it to forcibly break the molecular bonds and cause it to explode. (But, that's what the dynamite is generally for.) Ammonium Nitrate is a pretty effective dessicant, though, absorbing a lot of moisture from the air and losing explosive power as it takes on the H2O. To prevent this it's often mixed with a few percent by weight of fuel oil, forming what they call ANFO. (Think abbreviations.) The fuel oil prevents water absorption and keeps the detonation power up there.

One sticks a detonator pack of dynamite or TNT onto or inside a cache of ANFo, uses a basic percussion cap ("squib") to pop the dynamite or TNT, and the explosion from it in turn sets of the ANFO. Boom.

Since whoever stole this stuff also apparently got the detonating good as well (blasting caps, etc.) they probably have enough to bring down a typical engineered structure if they place it properly. 250 lbs. of dynamite with a 750 lb. ANFO chaser will equate to a pretty damn big explosion...

O d d O n e, who fully expects to see at least one significant terrorist strike somewhere within the U.S around the rollover...

-- OddOne (, December 19, 1999.

Just heard on Fox News they are looking for an orange van that might be connected to that Yutz who had the explosives in his trunk. Report also said that the Algerian had ties to Usama Bin Laden.

Don't understand why the powers that be can't get that creep.

-- (I', December 19, 1999.

Don't understand why the powers that be can't get that creep.

Dont be so surprised. TPTB cant seem to catch anyone. Remember Eric Robert Rudolph, or whoever he is, suspect of bombing the Atlanta abortion clinics, isnt he still on the run or did he die in the sticks?. How about that guy who went on a shooting spree, the guy who killed Versace, they didnt catch him, he killed himself when a houseguest popped in. What about the railroad killer, that guy who went from town to town killing, they only got him when family convinced him he would only be prosecuted for lesser charges. What about the UniBomber, they didnt catch him either, his family gave him up. The list goes on and you would be amazed at how many thousands of cases a year never get solved, even some of the simplest ones.

Some people in this forum give alot of credit to the FBI and the other departments as being capable of doing so much and building these bizarre end-of-world schemes to imprison society and rule it with the NWO. The powers that be are basket cases.

-- hamster (, December 19, 1999.

Odd One, big, physically, is 250 lb dynamite and 750 lb ANFO? Also, you seem to indicate that ANFO uses very little fuel oil. At Oklahoma City the authorities implied that an almost Stochiometric ratio was used. Yet I seem to remember that Texas City, and Brest were Ammonium Nitrate explosions without fuel oil, or minimal oil from the ship's bilge...Can you clarify this? Can Ammonium Nitrate be made to detonate on it's own?

Thanks in advance for clearing up the confusion.

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It's ALL going away in less than two, December 19, 1999.

Come on, three guys dressed in camo were talking in a bar about a big bang on December 31! Doesn't that stink like preparation of a cover story?

-- DB Cooper (dbcooper@somehere.else), December 19, 1999.


I just said that to stay in good with TPTB, in case they are watching this forum. :)

-- (I', December 19, 1999.

K. Stevens

The reason Texas City and other places were explosions was because the heat/fumes/etc. were contained inside the ships hull. If you take a boxcar of ammonium nitrate and build a fire under it, it will burn. If you set the same amount of Ammonium Nitrate in a closed space(heavy metal tank) and start it on fire, it will probably explode.

Same principal of why nuclear reactors give power but nuclear bombs go bang. It is a time/containment/density thing.

-- boomer (, December 19, 1999.

I believe that in OK. City they mixed some racing fuel additive nitrobenxene with ammonium nitrate. This stuff is bad. If a small amount of ammonium is mixed with it it is sensetized and takes very little to set it off - very very powerful stuff.

-- none (, December 19, 1999.

I think this story is a fabrication. What rock quarry uses ammonium nitrate. I have friends that did mining and that is not the standard, this Doesnt quite wash. The Govt is up to something. This stuff will be the y2k scapegoat or something. Organized terrorist wouldnt be that sloppy, they are probabaly organized crime like fortune 500 companies. The legit chinese companies like the one that wanted to buy the naval shipyard at long beach are the examples. They will propably operate out of a legit front company moving supplies under the govt nose with there blessings probably owned by foriegn nationals. Those are the ones to watch, they will be our greatest scary threat. They have are so intigated into the U.S. commerce system for so many years they will not be on anyones radar screen. If China, Russia or some other country that doesnt like us want to rattle us that is most likely how they will do us. Get smart about were you look that's were I believe the real threat will come from. Praying hard for peace for our country

-- y2k aware mike (y2k aware mike @ conservation .com), December 19, 1999.

[Begin paste...]

Odd One, big, physically, is 250 lb dynamite and 750 lb ANFO? Also, you seem to indicate that ANFO uses very little fuel oil. At Oklahoma City the authorities implied that an almost Stochiometric ratio was used. Yet I seem to remember that Texas City, and Brest were Ammonium Nitrate explosions without fuel oil, or minimal oil from the ship's bilge...Can you clarify this? Can Ammonium Nitrate be made to detonate on it's own?

Thanks in advance for clearing up the confusion.

[End Paste...]

ANFO can be bought in 50-lb. plastic-lined paper sacks, roughly the size and look (and weight! gee, go figure! [grin]) of a 50-lb. bag of rice. (ANFO looks like translucent whitish crystals with a veneer of the fuel oil.) You can fit 750 lbs. of ANFO into the trunk of a mid- sized sedan if you were so inclined, although the suspension would sink down and show the weight. You could easily cart the whole thousand-pond lot in a minivan and have room for probably four people.

As for the fuel-oil concentration, I recall reading in a book on explosives that the fuel-oil ratio need only be 5-10%, just enough to fill the voids the nitrate would fill with absorbed water. Apparently it doesn't take much. Ammonium Nitrate can, and will, detonate with no fuel oil at all - it's only used to prevent the nitrate from absorbing moisture and losing some explosive power.

Ammonium Nitrate normally will burn but not explode, as it requires a strong shockwave of the compression-wave sort to disrupt the molecular bonds you need to disrupt to make the stuff go up explosively. That's why it's considered a "safe" explosive; it is intrinsically stable unless subjected to a certain specific type of force. You have to really put some power into it to make it explode, but the payoff is about twenty times the force of an equivalent amount of TNT and a burn rate of over 4 miles per second. The huge fire and explosion in Texas City is a good example, as the nitrate did burn (with a nice orange smoke visible for miles) but didn't explode until some other storage tanks on the ship carrying it and docks nearby went up due to the fire, which then set off the nitrate and subsequently levelled most of the harbor. The nitrate fire burned for like two hours before the nitrate was finally detonated by other explosions. (I used to live in Texas City, BTW.)

TNT is often used as a detonator, as are C1, C4, dynamite, certain phosphorus and magnesium-based detonators, and a few other volatile compounds. Anything that can detonate with enough force to create a shockwave (compression wave) will do it, but fire, etc. will normally not. It doesn't take much of that kind of material to create a strong enough shockwave to do the job - one or two standard dynamite sticks shoved into the middle of an ANFO sack, perhaps a ball of C4 about two inches across, etc.

As a side note, if memory serves, the OKC bombing used something like 2,000 lbs. of Ammonium Nitrate, several acetylene and propane tanks, and a little dynamite to set it all off. The theory is that the dynamite detonated the acetylene and propane bottles and they in turn set off the nitrate. That explosion was heard a hundred miles away. And it all fit neatly into a small truck.

If I can get this much info by reading a few basic chemistry and explosives books, imagine what a well-financed nutcase with bad ideas on the mind could come up with?

Oh, and it gets scarier still...

Ever see a disposable cold-pack? You know, the kind you whack, shake, and apply to an injury? Read its label, and you'll probably discover that those often are nothing more than Ammonium Nitrate with water in a separate baggie. Whacking it breaks the water baggie, which then ges sucked into the nitrate and since this reaction absorbs heat the pack chills. But, get a few, snip them open, dump the nitrate into a container, add a bit of fuel oil if desired or seal it to prevent moisture absorption, and poof, you have your own explosive cocktail that was acquired perfectly legally. This stuff is REALLY easy to get, folks.

O d d O n e, who plans to not go anywhere within 250 miles of ANY city of 250,000 or more ppl. for the next few months...

-- OddOne (, December 20, 1999.

...ODDONE...has some good info... but i cant believe that ppl are still saing that OKC was done by a truck w/2000# of si Mathamaticaly and Sientificaly Impossable...the truck was parked to far away from the building to do more than blow out some windows... I am ex. military and i have worked w/ANFO on many ocations...THEY Have Lied to us about OKC from the Moment that ti happened. the ONLY way that the building would have gone down the way it did is if the Real "BOMB" was INSIDE the in the support collums of the parking garadge...other than that...good info.

-- Fearchar MacTuagh (, December 21, 1999.

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