‘Enough to blow half the house up:’ Cops find explosives used by ISIS in Florida home

Jared E. Coburn
Jared E. Coburn

Law enforcement officials in Lake Helen made a highly disturbing discovery on Tuesday.

According to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, deputies went to a home to assist the Lake Helen Police Department, responding to an anonymous tip about explosive materials on site.

Officers discovered mason jars containing a substance determined to be the highly volatile explosive triacetone triperoxide (TATP). The white crystal powder has been referred to as “Mother of Satan” by terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qaida who have used it in deadly attacks around the world, authorities say.

Investigators say the material was used in the 2017 Ariana Grande concert bombing in Manchester, England; the November 2015 attack outside the Stade de France in Saint-Denis during a soccer game; and by failed “Shoe Bomber” Richard Reid, a British terrorist who attempted to detonate a device that was in his shoes while on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami in 2001.

Homemade explosives, a grenade and bomb-making paraphernalia were also discovered in the home.

Because of the volatility of TATP, the material was not transported away from the area but detonated underground in a nearby field. A bomb squad set off seven total countercharges.

Jared E. Coburn, who was reportedly renting the place from a relative, was arrested. The 37-year-old maintenance worker said he was using the materials to make homemade fireworks, Lake Helen Police Chief Mike Walker said.

The suspect is currently in custody, charged with two counts of possessing and making a destructive device and possessing and manufacturing, transporting explosives with harm/life/limb, with additional charges possible.

“It was a shock, it was definitely a shock,” added Walker, who responded to the initial tip about the explosive material.

“This just goes to show that these anonymous tips really help us out when it comes to protecting the general public,” VCSO Bomb Squad Lt. Lou Marino said. “If we wouldn’t have gotten that tip, who would know if we would’ve ever found out. Or it may have been after the fact, a very volatile situation would have taken place and somebody could’ve gotten hurt or, God forbid, killed. So we’re very grateful for that anonymous tip.”

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the incident.

“Everybody’s here because everybody understands how volatile this stuff is,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said in a news briefing Tuesday evening.

“What’s in there now ... it’s enough to blow half the house up,” Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.

The suspect is being held on $45,000 bail.