Man faces trial after explosives found in N Dakota townhouse

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Trial is scheduled for early next year for a North Dakota man accused of setting up an explosives manufacturing operation in his townhouse garage, where police reported finding a large stockpile of bomb-making materials.

Police said they seized nearly 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms) of explosives upon completing the removal and disposal of the materials Friday evening from the townhouse in Williston, in the state’s northwest oil patch.

Ross Petrie, 28, of Williston, is charged with a felony called ‘release of destructive forces.’

An affidavit of probable cause said Petrie’s explosives could have had “catastrophic consequences.” A criminal complaint and the probable cause affidavit did not provide a motive for the explosives stockpile though police said more information would be released on Monday

Trial for Petrie is set for Feb. 13. His attorney, Jeff Nehring, did not return a phone message left Saturday afternoon.

Officials say they evacuated more than 10 people from the building in which Petrie’s townhouse was located. Authorities said the building will remain empty until police complete their inspection and deem the units safe for residents to return.

The affidavit says law enforcement officers began serving a series of search warrants at Petrie’s residence on Oct. 10 after being told a narcotics lab could possibly be in operation. That’s when they discovered explosive materials including powdered metals, according to the affidavit.

The release of the explosive materials would have “catastrophic consequences” not only for the immediate building, but for the entire complex of townhouse buildings, the affidavit said.

Williston is located near the Montana line and about 60 miles (95 kilometers) from the Canadian border.

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