Charges filed after 1,000 pounds of explosives discovered

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota man accused of storing more than 1,000 pounds of homemade explosives in his garage is now facing criminal charges.

Court records show 28-year-old Ross Petrie, of Williston, is charged with a felony called ‘release of destructive forces.’

An affidavit of probable cause says law enforcement officers began serving a series of search warrants at Petrie’s residence Oct. 10 after being informed that a narcotics lab could possibly be in operation.

According to the affidavit, authorities discovered it was actually an explosives manufacturing operation in the garage of a townhouse complex. Officials say they evacuated more than 10 people from the building in which Petrie’s townhouse was located.

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 police asked for assistance from the North Dakota National Guard’s 81st Civil Support Team to help analyze and identify the explosive materials.

The criminal complaint and the probable cause affidavit do not include a motive for the explosives stockpile.

Petrie was scheduled for a bond hearing Friday afternoon. Court records do not list a defense attorney.

The Minot and Bismarck bomb squads were expected to resume detonating the explosives at a Williston landfill Friday.

Williston is located in the northwestern North Dakota oil patch near the Montana border.