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article imageChicago police seize enough explosives to level a city block

By Kim I. Hartman     Jun 17, 2010 in Crime
Chicago - It took 81 detonations to destroy the large quantity of explosive chemicals, gunpowder and fuses Cook County Sheriff deputies seized from a trailer in a gated mobile home community. Police speculate they were being used to make illegal fireworks.
 
The police continue to look for other persons of interest today after making one arrest yesterday following the seizure of fireworks and explosive chemicals powerful reports the Chicago Tribune.
Police have charged Felicia West, 21, of Matteson with felony unlawful use of weapon, misdemeanor child endangerment, and misdemeanor animal cruelty after finding a caged dog inside the mobile home. This morning, the sheriff's office said in a release that its investigation is continuing and that it couldn't determine yet what role West had "in purchasing, manufacturing or selling any of the items seized."
The Sheriff's office said the investigation is still in progress and they are following up leads related to other suspects who may have been involved in what looks to be an illegal operation to sell fireworks for July 4th celebrations. A highly profitable illegal business from the quanity of materials removed from the trailer.
Neighbors were shocked and frightened when they learned of the chemicals and gunpowder stored in a m...
Neighbors were shocked and frightened when they learned of the chemicals and gunpowder stored in a mobile home in their gated community.
Screen shot WGN9tv
Police were called to the home in the Timber Ridge Trailer Park on Thursday and found West and her child surrounded by 300 pounds of small consumer fireworks, large professional fireworks, 51 pounds of flash powder, about 200 pounds of aluminum powder, seven 50-kilogram containers of suspected potassium perchlorate (a chemical used in fireworks), 3,300 M-type explosives, 1,000 empty cardboard tubes and four empty 50-pound containers of aluminum powder, according to the sheriff's office.
Investigators believe the materials were being used to create homemade fireworks, "yet the ingredients could have destroyed an entire city block," the sheriff's office said.
The sheriff's office said patrol officers discovered the material while responding to a reported burglary in progress. When the officers arrived at the home, they found West and her daughter inside along with a dog locked in a cage. Police said Tuesday that West lived there and that she told police she was crawling through a window into the unit because she had lost her key.
Neighbors in this gated mobile home community were shocked to hear of the discovery of that large of a quantity of explosives in their neighborhood. If they had accidently detonated inside the mobile home it would have put their lives, children and homes in danger.
The officers called in the sheriff's bomb unit, who along with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives removed the materials and destroyed them in 81 separate detonations.
West was ordered held on $5,000 bail. The sheriff's office said today that she had posted bond and was released and will appear in court in July.
Some of the explosives found by the Sheriff s Department in a mobile home in Cook County Illinois.
Some of the explosives found by the Sheriff's Department in a mobile home in Cook County Illinois.
Screen shot WGNTV
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