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Four-month investigation leads to arrest in bomb case

Published: Friday, July 11 2014 8:27 p.m. MDT

A man with a history of creating explosive devices is facing a new charge after police say he intended to sell an explosive device to an undercover officer and possibly use such a device to injure officers.

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SALT LAKE CITY — A man with a history of creating explosive devices is facing a new charge after police say he intended to sell an explosive device to an undercover officer and possibly use it to injure officers.

John Huggins, 44, of Weber County, was arrested Friday and charged in U.S. District Court with possession of an unregistered destructive device following a four-month investigation into his activities.

Police said they received a tip in February that Huggins had bombs buried in Ogden and intended to blow up a Bible group. Additional investigation suggested his target was not the Bible group, but police officers, the Tremonton Police Department and bridges and infrastructure to hinder any pursuit, the tipster said.

"Huggins stated that he thought that this action would cause the community to rise up against the government," an affidavit in support of the arrest warrant states.

With help from a confidential informant, local detectives and the FBI Domestic Terrorism Squad built a case against Huggins, including searches of his home and undercover work that resulted in the charge.

"On May 12, 2014 ... the (confidential informant) purchased a USB thumb drive from Huggins that contained data that consisted of instructions on how to manufacture drugs, explosives, booby traps and other documents," the affidavit states.

Two months prior to the undercover buy, the Box Elder County Strike Force had conducted a search of Huggins' residence and said it discovered spiral notebooks with potentially damaging information.

"Inside these notebooks were notes written by Huggins that were surveillance logs of the activities of Tremonton police officers including their call signs," according to the affidavit. "It is known that Huggins had manufactured explosive devices in the past that had to be detonated by the Cache County Bomb Squad."

During the past week several meetings were conducted with Huggins and an undercover agent who posed as a buyer for explosive devices. Investigators Friday said they found incriminating evidence in Huggins' trailer.

"... While an explosive chemical was not inside the device for detonation, there were chemicals inside the trailer that could easily be combined with the device to produce an IED," the affidavit states.

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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