Morrison man indicted in federal firearms, explosive devices case

Feds: Richard Sandberg made threats against ATF

DENVER - A 35-year-old Morrison man whose home was the object of a day-long search for explosive devices is now under federal grand jury indictment.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Wednesday that Richard Lawrence Sandberg was indicted Monday on bomb-related charges.  Sandberg was arrested on Jan. 24 and a large-scale search of his Morrison home was conducted by local and federal officers.  Law enforcement officers said they found 31 improvised bombs in the house.

During a Wednesday hearing, a federal magistrate and Sandberg's lawyer were allowed to view a video recorded by an undercover ATF agent.  After viewing the video, Magistrate Judge Michael J. Watanabe ordered that Sandberg be held without bail.

According to the original affidavit, the investigation began when a Denver police detective learned from a confidential informant that an individual possessed destructive devices.  The detective contacted ATF regarding this information.  ATF, acting on the information, worked with the confidential informant to introduce an undercover agent to the subject, who turned out to be Richard Sandberg, the affidavit stated.  After a number of phone conversations, the undercover agent and the confidential informant went to Sandberg’s residence, where they were shown the devices.  Sandberg reportedly said he wanted to trade the devices for cocaine, or for $300 each.

During the meeting, Sandberg made numerous threatening statements towards law enforcement and specifically ATF, according to the affidavit.  At the conclusion of the meeting, Sandberg gave the undercover agent three devices, which contained explosive powder, a fuse and shrapnel in the form of stainless steel ball bearings.  ATF confirmed that Sandberg was not legally allowed to possess such devices. 

Counts one and two of the indictment charge Sandberg with possession of firearms (destructive devices) not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.  Count three of the indictment charges Sandberg with one count of being a prohibited person in possession of firearms (destructive devices) because he is an unlawful user of and addicted to a controlled substance.

A former Marine, Sandberg claimed that he served in “Special Ops Recon SS Marine Corps” and was deployed to war zones in Iraq, Somalia, Africa and Pakistan, according to the affidavit. However, his official military personnel file indicates that he was discharged after two years of service in 2005 as a Lance corporal, and he was never deployed.

If convicted, Sandberg faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and a fine of not more than $10,000.  He also faces one count of possession of a firearm (which includes destructive devices) by an individual who is an unlawful user or addict to any controlled substance.  If convicted of that count, he faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case was investigated by ATF, the Denver Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.  The Denver Police Department Bomb Squad, the Jefferson County Sheriff Bomb Squad and the Colorado Springs Regional Explosives Unit provided assistance at Sandberg’s residence, where the devices were found.