A man was arrested outside the REC Silicon plant in Moses Lake Wednesday afternoon after a Grant County sheriff’s deputy spotted a fertilizer bomb in his vehicle during a routine traffic stop.
Ryan S. Palmer, 39, of Moses Lake is being held for investigation of second-degree burglary and attempted threats to bomb.
It is not believed the plant was an intended target.
The Grant County Sheriff’s office said Palmer told them he stole the materials for the bomb from Nutrien Ag Solutions in Moses Lake, where he previously worked as a chemical driver. They said he believes his exposure to chemicals during that work contributed to his daughter’s birth defects.
Palmer allegedly stole fertilizer from Nutrien Ag Solutions, obtained diesel fuel and constructed a mortar as an ignition device. He told investigators he planned to drive into the Nutrien Ag Solutions plant with the device, then drive to the company’s Pasco headquarters and tell them what he had done and “explain how dangerous and easy it would be for someone who wanted to do some damage to succeed,” the sheriff’s office said.
When asked by a detective what the bomb would do, Palmer reportedly asked if he had “ever heard of Timothy McVeigh.”
After the bomb was spotted by the deputy in Palmer’s car, the Washington State Patrol bomb squad was called in and disabled the device.
“The importance and value of traffic stops can never be overstated,” the Grant County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook account Friday. “Another potential (worse) crime was stopped once again thanks to a cop pulling over a car for a traffic violation.”