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Morrison man arrested amid seizure of explosives

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By Ramsey Scott

Federal agents arrested a Morrison man last Thursday after an undercover operation revealed he allegedly was making explosives and planned to sell them for cash or cocaine.

Richard Lawrence Sandberg, 35, was charged with one count of possession of a firearm after bomb squads from the ATF, Jeffco Sheriff’s Office and Denver police removed several improvised explosive devices from his home at 4648 S. Swadley Way.

Lawrence, who said he is a former Marine special forces soldier, could face up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Lawrence is accused of offering to sell an undercover agent from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives several IEDs for $200 to $300 each or for cocaine. Lawrence also is accused of telling the undercover agent he had 18 M67 fragmentation grenades, which are military issue and illegal to own.  

“Improvised Explosive Devices —IEDs —are against federal law, and with good reason: They have no legitimate purpose, and put an entire neighborhood at risk,”U.S. Attorney John Walsh said in a news release.

The complaint alleges that Lawrence gave the agent two homemade pipe bombs and another smaller IED and told him if he liked the explosives, they could start bartering for cocaine. The explosives were later confirmed to be real.

During the undercover operation, which was initiated by a Denver Police Department confidential informant, Lawrence allegedly professed right-wing political beliefs and told the agent he was in possession of several high-power weapons that he feared the Obama administration would take away.

According to the complaint, Lawrence allegedly said that if ATF agents came into his house to take his guns, “it would be a bad day for them, and lots of them would die,”and that he was willing to die.

Lawrence is scheduled to be arraigned in U.S. District Court on Jan. 29.

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.comor 303-933-2233, ext. 22.