Arrest made in theft of 559 pounds of explosives in Red Lodge

2014-02-27T08:49:00Z 2014-02-27T21:58:05Z Arrest made in theft of 559 pounds of explosives in Red LodgeBy ZACH BENOIT zbenoit@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Federal officials confirmed Thursday that they have arrested a man in connection with the theft of 559 pounds of explosives last April from a U.S. Forest Service bunker near Red Lodge.

Rod Ostermiller, Montana's Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal, said that marshals and members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took 32-year-old Budd James Nesius, of Wyoming, into custody earlier this week in Grand Junction, Colo.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl Rostad of Great Falls also confirmed Nesius' arrest. He declined to discuss the case further saying that an indictment remains sealed until Nesius appears in court. 

Sometime in April 2013, officials found that the shed had been broken into and that 559 pounds of explosives, which are used for a wide range of Forest Service duties, had been stolen.

The ATF announced in November that it had recovered the explosives and equipment — which included emulsion-type explosives, cast boosters and detonating cord — but did not provide further details.

The ATF asked the Marshal's Service in Montana for help tracking down Nesius, and the two agencies learned he had a drug-related charge out of Grand Junction, Colo., from December and was scheduled to appear in court this week.

Ostermiller said agents went to his scheduled hearing and took him into custody without incident on a federal warrant accusing him of possession of stolen explosives.

An ATF spokesman in Denver referred further questions to the United States Attorney's Office in Montana. Officials there were not available for comment as of 1:30 p.m.

The Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff's Office lists Nesius as an inmate in its county jail, but further information on the charges against him wasn't immediately available.

According to the Mesa Combined Court, Nesius appeared on Tuesday on charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia. He was charged with those offenses on Dec. 23 and his next court appearance is scheduled for March 20, although it wasn't immediately clear how or if that would be affected by the federal case.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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