Office of Public Affairs & Media Relations
HIGHLY VOLATILE EXPLOSIVE MATERIAL 'TATP' DISCOVERED IN LAKE HELEN HOME
This afternoon, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to assist the Lake Helen Police Department on a call at 292 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Lake Helen, stemming from a tip about explosive materials inside the home at that address.
Responding units discovered 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 who have used it in deadly attacks around the world.
In this case, 37-year-old Jared E. Coburn (DOB 5/26/1981), who lives in the home, said he was using it in the production of homemade fireworks. “He tried to explain to us that he was making his own version of a firework,” Lake Helen Police Chief Mike Walker explained.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and 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 told reporters at the scene in a news briefing Tuesday evening. He said the priority is to “defuse the situation without any police officer being injured and without anyone in this neighborhood being injured.”
Coburn is in custody facing a charge of manufacturing an explosive device, with additional charges possible pending the findings of an investigation that continues at this hour. A search warrant was signed by a judge Tuesday night, and a search of the house for additional explosives was to follow. Because of the volatility of TATP, the material will not be transported away from the area but rather detonated in a safe manner, underground in a nearby field. That method also allows for the collection of evidence after detonation.
“It was a shock, it was definitely a shock,” said LHPD’s Chief Walker, who responded to the initial tip about the explosive material. “I’m glad we had the Sheriff’s department and their bomb team at our disposal, because they were very helpful, and they continue to be.”
“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.”
Additional information will be released as it becomes available.
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