Investigators continue their search for about 75 pounds of explosives stolen from a North Idaho mine last month, after recovering 11 sticks of the “stick powder” Monday in the Coeur d’Alene area.
Authorities have arrested three men in connection with the July 30 theft from the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho.
Special Agent Herb Byerly of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said officials are trying to determine if others are involved in the theft.
They also continue to look for the remaining explosives. Each stick, wrapped in brown paper, is 16 inches long and weighs between .5 to 1.2 pounds.
Agents found about 400 pounds of the explosives last week near Round Lake in North Idaho. Another 10 pounds were recovered from the attic of a Coeur d’Alene business.
U.S. District Court Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno ruled Tuesday that defendants Kent Johnson, 31, of Coeur d’Alene, and Corey Lee Miller, 34, of Osburn, must remain in custody until trial.
Imbrogno ruled that both men posed a risk and might flee if released.
They are charged with possessing stolen explosives. Other charges can be added later, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Johnson.
Also charged is Joseph Earle Tepner-Galland, 26, of Coeur d’Alene. A hearing is scheduled today to decide whether he should remain in jail pending trial.
Tepner-Galland and Miller have told authorities that Johnson planned to sell some of the explosives to a Sandpoint man with connections to a militia group.
Johnson also reportedly said he would sell explosives to a Canadian group looking to blow up a dam.
Miller told agents he was forced to help Johnson break into the explosives building at the mine and take 50 boxes of the explosives and four rolls of detonating cord.
What they failed to take were detonating caps. On at least two occasions, Johnson tried to explode the sticks but failed because he didn’t have any caps, a federal agent said.
Byerly said the recovery of the 11 sticks resulted from a call by a North Idaho informer - the third time people have called agents with useful tips about the case.
The recent tip led agents to question a man in the Post Falls-Coeur d’Alene area, Byerly said. He would not say if that person knows Johnson or Miller.
“We interviewed him, and in the course of the meeting, he released the explosives to us,” Byerly said.
Those 11 sticks matched the type of explosives taken from the mine. Charges could be filed against the man who turned them over, Byerly added.
, DataTimes MEMO: IDAHO HEADLINE: More stolen explosives recovered