LAS VEGAS (AP) – An Arkansas man admitted in federal court that a cache of dynamite and fuses found with him at a hotel in suburban Las Vegas was stolen from a mining district in northern Nevada, court records and his attorney said Friday.
Evan Ray Atkinson, 38, entered a written guilty plea July 7 in U.S. District Court in Reno to one charge of theft of explosives from a federal permit-holder, in an agreement that could get Atkinson a year and a day in federal prison at sentencing Sept. 28.
Atkinson’s defense attorney, Richard Schonfeld, said his client accepted responsibility, has made changes in his life and agreed to the plea deal to bring closure to the case.
Nothing in the court record said what Atkinson allegedly planned to do with what amounted to about 100 pounds of dynamite and ignition materials.
He avoided a trial that had been scheduled this week on multiple charges including theft, possession, improper storage and transport of explosive materials. He could have faced decades in prison if he had been convicted.
Atkinson was arrested Jan. 4 at a Wyndham Suites hotel in Henderson and federal agents reported seizing 39 sticks of dynamite, more than a mile of detonating cord, fuse lighters and ignition boosters from his hotel room, pickup truck and a trailer.
A written plea agreement acknowledged that Atkinson stole the materials just before Christmas 2021 from a company in Kinkaid Mill, a mining district off U.S. 95 near Hawthorne, Nevada.
A federal agent reported in court filings that a highway passer-by reported seeing a pickup truck with a white enclosed trailer at the remote property, and cellphone location records led investigators to Atkinson and a maroon Chevrolet Silverado pickup with Arkansas license plates.
Records showed that Atkinson lives in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and also had an address in Manhattan Beach, California. He remained free without bond on home detention with GPS monitoring while awaiting proceedings in his case.
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