N.C. man busted for possessing ‘weapon of mass destruction’

A North Carolina man was arrested last Thursday for possessing a weapon of mass destruction, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office announced on Facebook

Owen Gregory Dean, 44, was apprehended after the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), North Carolina Department of Public Safety Adult Corrections (DPS) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) searched his residence in Murphy based on a tip and discovered a blasting cap. The cap was later secured safely and removed by bomb technicians. 

Blasting caps are small detonators that ignite larger explosives such as TNT or dynamite. Under North Carolina law, such caps are considered “powerful explosives” and can be categorized as a “[weapons] of mass destruction” if they are “designed or intended for use in converting any device into [an explosive or incendiary].” 

“Again, this had a huge potential for disaster,” Sheriff Derrick Palmer said in a statement. “Explosives must always be properly handled and stored. We appreciate all the assistance of the SBI, ATF and DPS in helping us to bring this to a safe conclusion.”

Many users responded incredulously to the sheriff’s office’s Facebook post, with some arguing that blasting caps should be the least of the authorities’ concerns. 

“One blasting cap? What a crock!” one person wrote. “An M80 [sic] firecracker would do more harm!”

“Let the thieves and dopers run wild, but this guy with one blasting cap, he’s the problem,” another sarcastically commented. 

Dean, who was already on probation, was taken to the Cherokee County Detention Center where he is being held on a $15,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on May 9.