Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies cooperate on investigations of crimes involving homemade explosive devices, according to Dale Armstrong, resident agent in charge of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives office in Portland.

But in Maine there have been very few federal explosives violations, which can consist of anything from building pipe bombs to terrorist activities, Armstrong said. He didn’t know how many cases there have been statewide, but said he could remember no more than three incidents.

In general, an explosive would have to be capable of producing shrapnel to meet the federal legal standard for a destructive device, which falls under federal law enforcement’s jurisdiction, Armstrong said.

The most common example of a destructive device is a pipe bomb because they are made with hard-case designs, he said.

Anyone convicted of a crime in connection with a destructive device faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine, with penalties also affected by criminal history and the circumstances of each case, he said.

The most recent federal explosives violation case was tied to an Alfred man who was convicted on multiple charges in connection with a pipe bomb incident, according to Armstrong.

In that case, Robert Infante, 47, was sentenced Oct. 4 in U.S. District Court in Portland to 35 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, according to a release from the Department of Justice.

The charges came after pipe bombs, firearms and marijuana were seized from Infante’s Alfred residence in June 2010.

Infante requested emergency services for injuries from an explosion at his house, and police and fire personnel responded, according to the release.

The emergency responders found marijuana plants growing in the home, along with pipe bombs, firearms and ammunition. The release said the evidence showed that Infante had the arsenal to protect his marijuana growing operation.

Infante pleaded guilty to possession of unregistered destructive devices, possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon, manufacturing marijuana and possession of a destructive device during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense, the release states.

David Robinson – 861-9287

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