Sheriff's investigators recovered a stash of stolen explosives hidden adjacent to the Metrolink train tracks in Santa Clarita, foiling what they say was a plot to sell the valuable material. Four teen-agers from the Canyon Country area were taken into custody.
The 700 to 800 pounds of explosives were hidden in two locations near the commuter railway. Some of the explosives were found as little as 10 yards from the track.
But Lt. Bill Christiansen, head of the Los Angeles County sheriff's bomb and arson unit, said investigators believe that a terrorist attack on a train was not intended.
"They were missing one part of the component to really make this work. That was the blasting caps. We think they merely hid the explosives adjacent to the Metrolink track," he said.
"We don't think it had anything to do with sabotage or train sabotage or anything such as that. We think they were familiar with the area and utilized it to secrete [the explosives.]"
The four teen-agers were booked for investigation on charges of burglary and possession of explosives. They were identified as Joel Soltero, 18; Larry Blevins, 19; Regan Coultas, 19, and Jerry Donegan, 19. Each was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail. They are expected to be arraigned next week.
Investigators declined to say whether they were linked to any larger gangs or movements, and to whom they were trying to sell the explosives.
"We're still attempting to determine what exactly they were going to use the explosives for," Christiansen said.
Investigators found 450 pounds of commercial explosive known as Iremite, 200 pounds of dynamite booster and 1,200 feet of detonator cord, Christiansen said. The items were apparently taken in a burglary this week from the P.W. Gillibrand Rock Quarry in Canyon Country, he said.
"This is an anomaly in the sense you rarely see it," Christiansen said, referring to the rarity of thefts of explosives because the manufacture and use of such materials is strictly controlled.
He said the explosives could probably bring about $500 a stick.