(STL.News) – In Midland on Wednesday, a federal grand jury indicted 44-year-old Jeffrey Allen Smerud on one count of possession of a destructive device, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Luis M. Quesada, El Paso Division.
According to court documents, on March 10, 2020, Odessa police officers responded to reports of a suspicious person at a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center. A Lowe’s employee observed the suspicious person (later identified as Jeffery Allen Smerud) placing an unknown object under a pallet of mulch and then leaving the area. Shortly thereafter, the employee observed an explosion coming from the pallet.
Using the vehicle description and surveillance footage, law enforcement officers determined the suspect to be Jeffrey Allen Smerud. On March 13, Smerud was arrested. Smerud admitted to law enforcement officers to planting the explosive device at Lowe’s. Smerud also admitted he manufactured the explosive device.
Smerud is scheduled for an arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Ronald C. Griffen later this month. If convicted, Smerud faces up to ten years imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine. Smerud has remained in federal custody since his arrest on March 13.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with assistance from the Odessa Police Department, is investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shane Chriesman is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.