An 18-year-old Albuquerque man has been arrested on suspicion of planting a homemade bomb under the bed of his former high school girlfriend while she was at a graduation ceremony.
The device failed to explode and was found only this week, almost two weeks after it was allegedly planted.
Ethan Guillen made his first appearance in federal court on Thursday and is scheduled for preliminary and detention hearings today. He has been charged with possessing a destructive device not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. He is facing up to 10 years in prison if convicted, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico.
The victim, identified in court records as M.C., found a pressure cooker under her bed on Wednesday that authorities said was full of a “black energizeable material.”
Coming out of the top of the device was a fireworks fuse, which was wrapped around the tip of a soldering iron.
The soldering iron was plugged into an appliance timer, which was plugged into the wall.
Albuquerque police spokesman Daren DeAguero said in a news release Wednesday that police responded to a northwest Albuquerque home a little after 3 p.m. to investigate a suspicious device. He said the home was temporarily evacuated before the device was found to be safe.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney confirmed it was the same device that led to Guillen’s arrest.
A federal agent who specializes in explosives said in the criminal complaint that the device met the federal definition of a “destructive device.”
The girl who found the device told agents that Guillen, her ex-boyfriend, had harassed her at her high school, and that she had been escorted to class because he would not leave her alone, according to the criminal complaint.
A special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms said in the complaint that he met with Guillen at his residence and that the teen denied he placed the device.
Guillen’s father gave agents permission to search the home. Investigators said in the complaint they found duct tape that matched duct tape found on the device, latex gloves and a table in the back yard that had large burns on it.
Guillen’s father told agents that he had recently bought a pressure cooker, but couldn’t find it or his soldering iron.
An agent said in the complaint that when Guillen was questioned a second time, he said he made the device using chemicals, a gasoline mixture and random nuts and bolts he found in his garage.
Guillen said that on May 18 he put the device in a backpack and went to the girl’s home. He told agents he knew no one would be home because it was graduation, according to the complaint.
He said he climbed up a balcony and entered the home through a back door. He said he plugged in the device under the girl’s bed and set the timer for 1:30 a.m., according to the complaint.
He said he went home and listened to a police scanner all night, waiting to hear reports of an explosion, according to the complaint.
“When Guillen was told that the room next to M.C.’s had small children and a baby in it, Guillen stated that he knew and did not care,” the complaint states. “Guillen stated he just wanted M.C. dead.”