ATWATER, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – A 17-year-old was arrested Monday after he was caught trying to sell explosives to extremist groups on social media, according to the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.
At 7:00 a.m. Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Merced County Sheriff’s Office and Bomb Squad, and the Atwater Police Department carried out a search warrant at a home on Shaffer Road, just across the street from Thomas Oleada Elementary School.
During the search of the home, officials say a 17-year-old was arrested and charged for trying to sell explosives on social media.
The sheriff’s office says the teenager was trying to sell the explosives to right-wing extremist groups.
“I’m a parent, I have a 17-year-old myself, so it comes down to knowing what your kids are doing. Where is he getting all this stuff from? I have no idea. I mean it makes me question what my kids are doing,” said Deputy Darrel Allen.
Allen was a part of the team that arrested the teenager and gathered evidence inside the suspect’s home.
Investigators say they found materials used in bomb manufacturing.
“I’ve been a cop for 21 years now and this right here is the first time I’ve had to go to a 17-year-old’s home and collect explosive devices,” Allen said.
Allen says much of what happened in the neighborhood is still under investigation, but investigators believe he was trying to sell the explosives to extremist groups online.
“Very right-wing extremist groups that he was being involved in, that is still being investigated but that’s all still being investigated, but he ended up being in possession of quite a bit of bomb material that he was taking pictures of,” Allen explained.
Because of the teen’s age, his identity is not being released by authorities.
Allen says the teen and his parents have been answering questions from investigators.
The FBI requested the assistance of local law enforcement to execute the search warrant.
The suspect is facing several felony charges.
“I think the important thing is now, and what I’m gonna go home and do, I’m going to go home and find out what my kids are doing on social media sites. What are they doing on Facebook, what are they doing on YouTube, I mean, what are they looking at,” he concluded.
A neighbor living near the area of Shaffer Road said the photo of the explosives she has seen on social media reminded her of fireworks.