Explo officials plead guilty to improperly storing explosive materials at Camp Minden

1921
Courtesy of Minden Press-Herald

Two officials of the company involved in improper storage of explosive materials at Camp Minden pleaded guilty to Failure to Properly Mark Explosive Material and were sentenced in 26th Judicial District Court Monday, according to court documents obtained by the Minden Press-Herald.

Explo Systems, Inc. Co-owner David Alan Smith, 63, of Winchester, Kentucky, was sentenced to 55 months in prison, and a $1500 fine plus court costs, while Vice President of Operations William Terry Wright, 65, of Bossier City, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, and a $1500 fine plus court costs.

Both sentences are at hard labor and are to run concurrent with similar sentencing in federal court for participating in the criminal conspiracy.

According to previously reported information from the federal case, the defendants conspired from January 2010 to November 2012 to defraud the United States by submitting false certificates to the U.S. Army, transporting hazardous wastes to unpermitted facilities, and improperly storing the explosives causing the government to pay money to the conspirators to which they were not entitled.

From June 2011 through October 2012, Explo officials submitted false certificates to the Army showing sales of demilitarized M6 propellant to third parties, when in fact the sales did not occur. Explo officials, including Wright, also did not inform or notify the third-parties that Explo submitted the executed certificates to the Army as proof of sale of demilitarized M6. Wright submitted the certificates with forged and or fabricated signatures.

On October 15, 2012, an explosion occurred at a munitions storage bunker at Camp Minden, which was leased by Expo from the Louisiana Military Department. The explosion contained approximately 124,190 pounds of smokeless powder and a box van trailer containing approximately 42,240 pounds of demilitarized M6 propellant. The damage destroyed the bunker and trailer, shattered windows of dwellings within a four-mile radius, derailed 11 rail cars near the storage bunker and led to the evacuation of Doyline.
Smith pleaded guilty December 14, 2017 to the conspiracy count and one count of making a false statement.

Smith and Wright will begin serving their sentences Feb. 1, 2019. District Judge Michael Craig handed down the sentence.