April 7, 2015

Watford City pipe bomb suspect being charged federally

By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer

What ended with the Minot Police Department Bomb Squad being called in to a Watford City RV Park and the arrest of a 29-year-old Colorado man charged with Terrorizing, Reckless Endangerment, and Possession of Explosives, has now gone from being a state case to a federal case.
Since that incident on Jan. 26, state charges against Dustin Swartz have been dropped and replaced by federal charges that have been filed  and unsealed by the U.S. District Court for North Dakota in Bismarck. The new federal charges include federal felony possession of firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon and possession of an explosive device.
When officers responded to the Prairie View RV Park in Watford City, Swartz had fled the scene in his pickup truck. He was found a short time later hiding between two dumpsters in the residential area behind Burgerrito’s.
Swartz had been armed with a loaded handgun in a holster on his hip, multiple loaded handgun magazines, boot spikes, and a combat knife attached to a drop thigh holster. He also had multiple items associated with survivalists such as hiking packs, excess water, and arrows.
In the ensuing investigation, reasonable suspicion was established that Swartz’s vehicle and camper may contain explosive devices or components to build explosive devices. Once both his truck and camper were secured, search warrants were granted for both.
Two improvised explosive devices were found in the vehicle and were rendered safe by the Minot Police Department Bomb Squad. Firearms were also found in the vehicle, along with a bullet resistant vest, over 500 rounds of ammunition, and an AR 15 semi-automatic rifle.
During an interview at the jail, Swartz had indicated extremist views about sovereignty from the United States government. He had also allegedly told officers that “the end of the world is here” and warned them to be careful with, and not to smoke around the two pipe bombs.
Swartz appeared Thursday, March 12, before U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland, where he pleaded not guilty and requested a public defender.
A May 12 trial date has tentatively been scheduled, and Swartz appeared at a detention hearing on Monday, March 16.