Arrest made in Richlands explosives investigation

Cole Carini

RICHLANDS, VA (WVNS) — 2:30 p.m. Friday, June 5, 2020: Investigators made an arrest in a case of explosives found at a home near Richlands, Virginia. Cole Carini, 23, is charged with lying to federal agents. He was expected to appear in U.S. District Court on Friday.

Carini went to a health clinic in Richlands on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. According to court records, one hand was amputated as were fingers on his other hand. He also had shrapnel wounds around his neck and throat. Carini claimed it was a lawnmower accident.

When investigators went to his home, they found the lawn was overgrown and no evidence a lawnmower had been used recently. They did find indications of an explosion which was more consistent with Carini’s injuries. Agents also found a large amount of Triacetone Triperoxide, which is used in making improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Carini maintained his story about a lawn mower accident during questioning. He also said he had now explosives. The case is still open and under investigation. It is being handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Virginia State Police, the Richlands Police Department and the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office.

Thursday, June 4, 2020 7:00 p.m. UPDATE: Law enforcement agencies spent the last 40 hours removing explosive materials from a home near Richlands. Tazewell County Sheriff’s deputies, Virginia State Police, the FBI, and ATF were on scene.

Deputies blocked off the road and evacuated people from their homes while they searched for explosives. Major Harold Heatley with the Tazewell County sheriff’s office said it all began when a man went to the hospital with extensive injuries, and a story that did not add up.

It was a delicate and dangerous situation in Richlands on Thursday, June 4, 2020, as investigators searched a property on Holy Road, making sure they located and removed every explosive material.

“We have identified some explosives that are extremely volatile,” said Heatley. “At this point, we are taking all precautions necessary.”

The investigation began on Monday, when a man went to the hospital with extensive injuries and said they were from a lawn mower accident. Doctors determined his injuries were actually from explosives — and alerted the Tazewell County sheriff’s department.

“We spoke to all the neighbors close by and none of them heard anything,” said Heatley. “This happened in the upstairs of the residence and it didn’t break the windows out so it may have been very muffled in the residence.”

The man was flown to a Roanoke hospital. Heatley said deputies found explosive materials in the man’s home on Holy Road. For safety, they shut down the road and evacuated neighbors.

Officers and agents from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and state troopers were on the scene for nearly 40 hours. They were still removing explosives from the home Thursday afternoon. Deputies said it appears the man was making the explosives in the home.

“At this point we haven’t been advised of any connection as to what he had planned to do with those explosives,” said Heatley.

Heatley said they could be there for at least another day. Deputies will block off the road and close down the nearby railroad when they are ready to take the explosives to a safe location.

Investigators are not releasing the type of explosives or the man’s name at this time. Charges could be pending within the next couple of days. The U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI in Abington, VA will now handle the case.

RICHLANDS, VA (WVNS) — 12:15 p.m. Thursday, June 4, 2020: UPDATE An investigation into explosives at a home near Richlands began on Tuesday, June 2. That is according to investigators with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies said a man with extensive wounds went to the hospital claiming he was in a lawnmower accident. Doctors were able to determine the injuries were actually from explosives. That led law enforcement officers to a home on Holy Road.

Officers and agents from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and state troopers have been on the scene for nearly 40 hours. Explosives were still being removed from the home at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. Deputies said it appears the explosives were being made in the home.

Holy Road remains closed. Deputies will block off the road and close down the nearby railroad when they are ready to take the explosives to a safe location.

59News has a crew on the scene and will bring you more information as it becomes available.

ORIGINAL STORY — 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 4, 2020: The discovery of combustible and explosive material at a home in Tazewell County led deputies to ask people to leave their homes on Thursday, June 4, 2020. The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an incident on Holy Road just outside of Richlands.

Details are extremely limited at this time, however the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, and the FBI will be in the area the next couple of days. People may notice a larger police presence and may experience traffic delays and power outages in the surrounding area including Jewell Ridge Road.

Deputies have asked some people to leave their homes as a precaution, but should be able to return later on Thursday or Friday, June 5. This is out of an abundance of safety due to finding explosive materials. If you have any questions or concerns call the 911 Center at 276-988-0902.

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