A man who allegedly built an explosive device found in a backpack during a traffic stop has been charged in federal court, US Attorney Clint Johnson has announced.
Joe Allen Forest, 24, was charged in a criminal complaint with illicit manufacture of a destructive device.
On April 28, 2022, a Bixby police officer attempted to arrest a speeding driver, who then led the officer into a pursuit. The driver eventually pulled over and was taken into custody.
According to the complaint, an inventory of the vehicle was taken and the officer observed a backpack on the floor with a cartridge that appeared to be an explosive device. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol Bomb Squad and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were contacted and arrived on the scene. They determined that the device was a spent military smoke grenade that had been manipulated and filled with explosive powders and disassembled fireworks. The device additionally had a pyrotechnic fuse along its side then entering the device from the bottom. They also located an intact small triangular explosive device inside the backpack. Triangle devices are often illegally imported into the United States and contain 3 grams of flash powder. All devices have been made safe.
The driver told investigators that the backpack and devices belonged to Joe Allen Forest and that he had dropped it off earlier. Forest was eventually located and taken into custody. According to the complaint, officers found four small triangular devices in Forest’s pocket, which were the same as the triangular device found in the backpack earlier. Forest also reportedly told officers he built the largest device found in the backpack at his home in Bixby nearly a month ago and planned to detonate it in a stream.
*This case will continue in the United States District Court in Tulsa, where the lawsuit is currently pending. A complaint is a temporary accusation alleging a violation of the law. For the case to go to trial, the United States must present the charge to a federal grand jury within 30 days. Once a grand jury returns an indictment, a defendant is entitled to a jury trial in which the United States would bear the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and Bixby Police Department are the investigative agencies. Assistant United States Attorney Robert T. Raley is prosecuting the case. AUSA Raley is the National Security Counterterrorism (ATAC) Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Oklahoma.