HOUSTON – Federal prosecutors said they busted a Houston man who tried to buy explosives online so he could blow up a truck and later blow up a building used as an apartment.
Federal prosecutors charged Cary Lee Ogborn, 50, with attempting to “transport explosives through interstate commerce to kill, injure, or intimidate, or to destroy buildings or vehicles.”
This case is not connected to explosions in New York City and Seaside Park, New Jersey, over the weekend, officials said.
Ogborn allegedly communicated with someone who he thought was an explosives dealer, but that person was really an undercover FBI employee, prosecutors said.
In one online communication Ogborn, who FBI agents say used the handle “boatmanstv,” allegedly said:
“The idea we have for this person is, while he is sleeping we put grenade in back of truck and run to our car 20 to 30 meters away, then the truck blow up, he heres (sic) truck blow up and come outside while he outside we blow up house. Tell me about grenade please. How far do we need to be away?”
Ogborn started trying to get explodes on Aug. 20. He wanted to buy wireless transmitters, dynamite and fragmentation grenades, court documents written by an FBI agent allege.
In another exchange, boatmanstv allegedly said:
“Going to ignite gas because it is the cheapest way I know. If you know cheaper, please inform. Don’t need big explosion, just need to make sure building 20 ft x 40 ft made of wood burns to the ground. I don’t have a problem with being close buy. Just can’t use fuse because it will be at night and fuse burning can be seen at night. The explosive will be placed under the center of the building because it is up on blocks.”
Later boatmanstv said he did not want to murder anyone.
“Person will not be there when set off. Don't want to kill, just send message,” the feds said he wrote to the undercover FBI employee. The employee was not located in Texas.
Court documents say FBI agents linked boatmanstv to Ogborn and a marine repair business at 6303 Mayfair St. in Houston called Cary’s Mobile Marine Services.
Neighbors say Ogborn lived and worked in the shop building.
Shawn Weiss, a shop owner next door, saw FBI agents swarm the building last Friday.
“I never seen anything funny about the guy, he’s always open, it’s always open, the shop door was always open,” Weiss said.
Another neighbor, Charles Blair, said he complained to police several times about boat trailers Ogborn left parked in the street outside the building.
“Something tells me sometimes to stay away from somebody and I did, 100 percent,” Blair said.
Ogborn was arrested Friday after he picked up a package at a post office box that he believed contained the explosives, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.
The release said Ogborn placed an anonymous online order for explosive materials and tried to hide his computer’s internet address so it couldn’t be tracked.
“Ogborn allegedly went to an online marketplace that enables vendors and users to conduct anonymous transaction involving the sale of illegal goods,” prosecutors allege.
Ogborn ordered the explosive items and was notified his package had arrived at his post office box. When Ogborn picked up the package and opened it, agents soon arrested him, prosecutors said.
Ogborn made his first court appearance Monday. He was brought into court in a wheelchair, but walked in and out of the building with other prisoners.
Ogborn has a record of felony and misdemeanor arrests. He was sentenced to three years in state prison in 1989 for auto theft and cocaine possession.
If he is convicted on the federal charge, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
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