Explosive device found at Craig residence
August 24, 1999
Craig — Members of the U.S. Army were called to Craig to detonate a bomb found by the Craig Police Department (CPD) at a residence at 1006 Yampa Ave. in Craig.
What started out as a domestic violence complaint concerning the common-law wife of Rickyle Roy Smith, 37, quickly escalated into a full-scale explosives investigation.
The doctor for Smith’s wife reported that she had neck injuries caused by domestic violence. Smith was arrested for violating the terms of his parole because of the domestic violence charge. As a result of the investigation other charges came forward and were sent to the district attorney’s office.
Soon after the investigation, Smith’s wife called the CPD to turn in what she believed to be an explosive device. The device was taken into custody by police on July 31.
Police were surprised by what they found when they arrived at the residence. Smith’s wife handed them a tube that was about 10 inches in length.
According to Lt. John Forgay of the CPD, the object was found along with a .410 shotgun and a film canister of black powder mixed with aluminum shavings to make the explosive power of the powder even stronger. An electric match was found on the device along with a mercury switch outside of the bomb. The mercury switch is an electronic device that if attached to the bomb with a power source such as a 9-volt battery, uses a small amount of mercury to complete a circuit and detonate the bomb when triggered by motion or gravity.
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“This was a more complex device than just a pipe bomb,” said Forgay.
The device was found on Saturday night and the U.S. Army Bomb Squad out of Fort Carson, Colo., near Colorado Springs, came to Craig traveling in a Hummer and arrived in Craig at 9 a.m. Sunday. An X-ray was taken of the device and it was taken to Trapper Mine where it could be detonated in a safe place. According to the bomb squad, the bomb was made of a tube used for military flairs containing black powder.
Two pounds of C4 plastic explosive was placed on top of the bomb to cause it to detonate.
“In their opinion it was a fairly sophisticated device and a workable device,” said Forgay. “After the initial C4 explosion, a second plume of smoke could be scene coming from the device.”
Authorities aren’t sure how Smith learned to make such a complex device, but according to Forgay a copy of the book “The Poor Man’s James Bond” was found at the residence and the man worked in a mine in Utah when he was a teenager.
“It’s possible that Smith could have learned something about explosives from his mining history or from the book,” said Forgay. “The book is like the ‘Anarchist’s Cook Book’ but not as detailed.” No military record could be found for Smith. Smith is a Craig resident and was working construction for Frontier Structures in Steamboat Springs.
Authorties aren’t sure for what Smith was planning to use the device, but they suspect that it was used to intimidate his wife.
Forgay is confident that Smith will remain behind bars for a long time.
“Just the parole violations should be enough to put him back in the DOC (Department of Corrections),” said Forgay. “The other charges will keep him from being a free man for a while.”
Good police work played a role in finding the device according to Forgay.
“Detective Karri Greene did a great job of working with the initial phase of it and keeping contact with (Smith’s wife) and pursuing the investigation,” said Forgay.
The police want to make it clear that the residence was searched and no other devices were found.
Smith was charged with possession of a weapon, possession of explosives, criminal attempt, four counts of menacing, two counts of child abuse resulting in injury and several other charges.