Pine, Arizona — A construction crew was working in the small northern Arizona town, when they discovered large plastic pipes buried underground. After further digging, they realized the pipes were packed full of military-type explosives. They called authorities, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ended up confiscating 80 blocks of M112 C4 (built for military use), nine M18A1 Claymores, and a roll of detonating cord, otherwise known as detcord. Upon further investigation, the ATF concluded that the explosives had potentially been there for approximately 20 years.

Authorities are offering a reward of $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the owner of these explosives.

These are not military imitation explosives, they are specifically developed and produced for the military. They do not appear to be home-made in any way, and officials have already labeled it as a “theft,” though no information has been made public as to the act of the theft itself — it would have happened around two decades ago, and information that far back may be difficult to track down.

Claymore mines are anti-personnel mines that use steel balls on enemy combatants, and they are labeled with the famous “FRONT TOWARD ENEMY” as seen above. They have an effective range of approximately 50 meters, depending on the terrain, and an overall 250 meter total range. While they are not commonly used in the war on terror so much anymore (that’s not to say they are never used), they would remain an invaluable tool for foot soldiers fighting other conventional foot soldiers in future conflicts, so they are still an essential part of the U.S. military’s arsenal.

The C4 is a much more versatile weapon, and can be built to satisfy all sorts of needs. It can be cut into pieces, molded, added to other blocks of C4 — the uses are practically limitless. They are also very stable, and can even be lit on fire without exploding (though it does burn quite brilliantly). However, once initiated, it is a deadly weapon that can do some serious damage. It’s this sort of versatility that makes it a force to be reckoned with, especially in the wrong hands.

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While the detcord could be used in conjunction with the C4 (both are simply two separate types of building blocks for explosives), it too has many possible uses. The explosion would not be nearly as significant as with C4, but if properly used, can have precise and/or deadly uses.

As the investigation continues, anyone with possible information is encouraged to contact ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477) or to email them at [email protected]


All images courtesy of the ATF.