No Bail For Explosives Theft Suspect
A federal judge Wednesday ordered a third suspect in the theft of explosives from a North Idaho mine held in jail until his trial.
U.S. District Court Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno said Joseph Earle Tepner-Galland, 26, can’t be trusted to stay in the area if released on bail.
Tepner-Galland, of Coeur d’Alene, is accused of helping two other men transport about 500 pounds of explosives to the Sandpoint area. The 50-pound boxes of “stick powder” were taken July 30 from the Lucky Friday mine near Mullan.
Authorities also say Tepner-Galland helped two other suspects in the case - Corey Miller, 34, of Osburn, Idaho, and Kent Johnson, 31, of Coeur d’Alene - hide the explosives on rural land outside Sandpoint.
Agents, acting on a tip, found 390 pounds of the explosives hidden there.
Imbrogno also decided that Tepner-Galland, like Miller and Johnson, could be a danger to others if released.
The three defendants will be charged formally within three weeks. If convicted of possessing stolen explosives, they could face 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Johnson argued that Tepner-Galland’s criminal record indicates a likelihood of fleeing before trial.
She said his “lengthy and convoluted record” includes a parole violation and failures to appear for court hearings in Montana and Idaho.
Tepner-Galland also served a five-year prison sentence for felony theft and burglary in Montana, and a year in jail for check fraud in Idaho, she said.
His attorney, Everett Hofmeister, told Imbrogno most of those offenses occurred while Tepner-Galland was a juvenile.
Hofmeister argued that TepnerGalland has cooperated fully with investigators since his arrest last weekend.
“He’s even volunteered information” to agents continuing their search for others involved in disposing of the stolen explosives, Hofmeister said.
Hofmeister would not divulge that information. “Those instances will be better explained later,” he said.
Federal agents last week found 10 pounds of explosives at a Coeur d’Alene business and about 15 pounds this week in the home of a Coeur d’Alene resident.
Another 80 or so pounds are still missing.
Agents also are investigating claims by Johnson that he intended to sell some of the explosives to a Canadian group intending to blow up a dam and to a Sandpoint resident connected to a militia group.