The improvised explosive device (IED) found by a hiker on a Turtleback Mountain trail on Orcas Island Monday,August 6 was made of commercial-grade explosives and was capable of killing someone.
The ongoing investigation is being led by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). San Juan County Sheriff's Office is supporting the investigation.
Some details of the incident and investigation are not being made pubilc at this time. However, there are key messages that are important for the community to know:
1. This was a confirmed explosive device with the potential to easily kill or injure someone.
2. The device was made from commercial-grade explosives not readily available to the general public.
3. It is not known exactly how long the device was in place or what the likelihood is of other devices. There is no known motive at this time, nor are there any suspects.
As a result of the potentially severe impact of this device, and the uncertainty surrounding who placed it, Sheriff Ron Krebs is urging the Orcas Island ommunity to keep the following in mind.
1. Please be aware, alert, and vigilant when walking the trails on island public lands. Look forward, and look for materials that look unnatural or out of place. Keep kids and pets close at hand. Please report anything suspicious to 9-1-1 immediately. DO NOT TOUCH or MOVE anything that looks suspicious.
2. Please report to the Sheriff's Office information about anyone who has access to or possession of illegally held commercial-grade explosives. Sheriff's Anonymous Tip Line is 360.370.7629. Also if you know of anyone who has taken an interest in explosives, or seems like they could be connected to this incident, please report it immediately.
3. Please report any instances of loud explosions, either currently or in the past, or sites in the woods or elsewhere that appear to be the location of an explosion or detonation. Sherifff's anonymous Tip Line 360.370.7629.
Sheriff Krebs says the investigation of this disturbing incident will benefit from the attention and knowledge of the entire island community. If you think you have an important piece of information, please share it immediately.