Louisiana State Police (LSP) announced Monday afternoon that Explo System’s Inc. has finalized properly storing the remaining explosive material, which was housed indoors at Camp Minden. LSP then advised Explo that their license, which gives them the authority to move explosive material, has been revoked.
“After six months of continuous work by the Louisiana State Police Emergency Services Unit, and the Explo employees working under their immediate supervision, the public safety hazard has been mitigated,” said Capt. M. Doug Cain, II, LSP Public Affairs Commander. “The product is now in ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) approved magazines which are leased by Explo from the Louisiana National Guard.
“Explo’s license will remain revoked pending the adjudication of all civil and/or criminal violations,” Cain continued. “As a result of those revocations, Explo Systems, Inc. has surrendered all keys to the 97 magazines to the Louisiana Army National Guard’s Camp Minden Installation Commander, Col. Ronnie Stuckey.”
LSP Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said public safety is always a primary focus.
“That hazard has been alleviated,” Edmonson said. “Now we can focus on those criminal violations which have threatened so many innocent people.”
After the completion of clean-up efforts was reported in the Minden Press-Herald on May 9, Louisiana State Police officials requested a clarification be printed.
“I was informed the remaining material has been (was being) moved from where it was being stored to approved locations on Camp Minden,” said John Stanley, director of Webster Parish Homeland Security at the May Webster Parish Police Jury meeting.
On Friday, May 17 the Minden Press-Herald released information at the request of Louisiana State Police which claimed clean-up efforts were incomplete, despite previous reports.
“We heard that misinformation about the material was shared in an open meeting,” said Lt. Julie Lewis, Louisiana State Police Public Affairs Executive Officer.
“We want to make sure the public is as knowledgeable as they can be as the investigation continues.”
Attempts to obtain information pertaining to the status of clean-up efforts or amount or estimates of product moved were unsuccessful as of Thursday.
LSP officials said clean-up efforts concluded in the afternoon of either Thursday, May 16 or Friday, May 17.
The product in Explo’s care was found during a follow-up inspection of Explo Systems Inc on November 26, 2012, after a bunker containing black powder exploded on October 15, resulting in the investigation.
Originally, the amount of product was estimated to be more than three million pounds and has come to be estimated at more than 10 million pounds. Additional products were also found in the care of Explo and include approximately 100,000 pounds of flammable solid material and 130,000 pounds of Tritonal, which have
been relocated to proper storage locations.
The town of Doyline was evacuated as Explo employees worked under the direction of Louisiana State Police to properly store the material.
Camp Minden, which is not a Department of Defense installation, belongs to the State of Louisiana and is under the care of the state Military Department.
According to previously reported figures, Explo was under contract with the federal government to receive 400,000 pounds of product a year for $2.9 million dollars. Explo would then separate the M6 from the shell or casing it came in, and sell the byproducts created. Public officials have stated initiating litigation may have interfered with clean-up efforts, including the assistance Explo employees were able to provide.
Louisiana State Police technicians and investigators continue their investigation and will release a final report to the Webster Parish District Attorney’s Office upon completion.