Law enforcement: North responsible for 36 explosive devices - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Law enforcement: North responsible for 36 explosive devices

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Larry North (Smith County) Larry North (Smith County)
Robert Champion (ATF) speaks Thursday morning. Robert Champion (ATF) speaks Thursday morning.
Timeline of device discovery Timeline of device discovery
Larry North on Wednesday, after his arrest. Larry North on Wednesday, after his arrest.

UPDATE (from the Tyler Paper): Larry North, who is suspected of manufacturing and placing more than 30 explosive devices throughout East Texas, will undergo a court-ordered mental health evaluation in a medical facility within the Bureau of Federal Prisons, U.S. Magistrate Judge John David Love ruled today.

Kenneth Hawk, from the U.S. Public Defender's office, was appointed to be the attorney for Larry Gene North in the initial phase of the legal proceedings against him. 

"I am seeking a mental health evaluation to determine his competency because I have questions about his ability to assist in his defense," Hawk said to Judge Love. 


 

TYLER (KYTX) - Calling his actions "nothing short of domestic terrorism", ATF, the FBI, the U.S. Treasury Department, as well as other state and local law enforcement agencies announced that Larry Eugene North, 52, of Henderson has been indicted by a federal grand jury, charged with possession of a firearm or a destructive device.

Officials say he is responsible for 36 incendiary devices recently found in 23 locations around East Texas.

Prosecutors say North was observed putting an explosive device into a mailbox at the Tanglewood Shopping Center on Wednesday. North was arrested in his van at the 3400 block of Corporate Drive soon after. Another explosive device was found in the van after his arrest.

Possible motives mentioned include North's dislike of the United States government, as well as his loss of more than a million dollars after the collapse of the Henderson General Savings and Loan in the 1980s. click here for more

ATF Agent Robert Champion says that because of the nature of the devices, East Texans were "lucky that no one was injured."

Officials also mentioned that there were messages written on the devices, although they did not elaborate on what the messages said. North will be arraigned at 1:00 pm Thursday, and more charges against him are expected.

A press release from the US Attorney's Office follows.

TYLER - U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced that a 52-year-old Henderson, Texas man has been indicted in connection with a destructive device found in a U.S. mail collection box in the Eastern District of Texas.

LARRY EUGENE NORTH was indicted by a federal grand jury on Apr. 7, 2010 and charged with possession of an illegal firearm or destructive device after having been arrested without incident in Tyler at approximately 11:00 am that same day.

According to prosecutors, North had previously been identified as a person of interest in connection with destructive devices which were being placed in postal collection boxes in East Texas.  On the morning on Apr. 7, 2010, North was observed placing such a device in a Tyler collection box leading to his subsequent arrest in the 3400 block of Corporate Drive.  Following his arrest, a search of North's vehicle revealed an additional destructive device.

North has an initial appearance in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love at 1:00 pm on Apr. 8, 2010.  He faces up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted.

This investigation is on-going and additional charges could be filed.  This investigation is being led by the ATF, Postal Inspection Service, FBI, and the Texas Rangers with assistance from numerous other federal, state and local agencies.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard L. Moore.

It is important to note that an indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all defendants charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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