Federal and state investigators found and disarmed a potential explosive device that was left along a natural gas transmission line near Okemah, OK, about 70 miles east of Oklahoma City.
Investigators have not disclosed what company owns the pipeline. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent Clay Simmonds told NGI on Thursday the agency was working on filing charges in the case and was close to making an arrest.
“We have somebody that we have identified, but it’s kind of a screwy situation legal-wise,” Simmonds said. “We’re trying to figure out where we need to go on that.”
FBI Special Agent James Finch said the Okfuskee County Sheriff’s Office had notified the agency about the potential improvised explosive device at about 11 a.m. Wednesday. The device, described as a 12 inch-by-12 inch diameter pipe bomb with a timing mechanism, was attached to a pipeline approximately five miles south of Okemah. The pipeline was described as a very small gathering line in a rural area that had segments that ran above the ground.
Finch said FBI bomb technicians and Oklahoma Highway Patrol bomb technicians responded to the site. They were able to remove the device from the pipeline and disarm it in a remote area. Authorities checked the area for additional devices but didn’t find any.
In a statement, Gov. Mary Fallin on Wednesday praised law enforcement for their quick response. “We don’t now know why an explosive device was left near Okemah, but we do know that the professionalism of our local law enforcement and public safety officials, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation ensured that nearby areas and roads were quickly evacuated and the device was rendered harmless.”
Fallin said the investigation would be under FBI jurisdiction.
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