The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. -- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)
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The following is the criminal complaint issued by the FBI against the Nichols brothers who were alleged to have participated in the manufacture of explosive devices with Timothy McVeigh for use in the Oklahoma City bombing. Charges were later dropped against James.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
V. CRIMINAL COMPLAINT
JAMES DOUGLAS NICHOLS and
I, the undersigned complainant being duly sworn state the following is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. On or about 1992 through 1995 in Sanilac county, in the Eastern District of Michigan defendant(s) did. (Track Statutory Languag of Offense) conspire with each other and with other persons, including TIMOTHY MCVEIGH, to make and possess firearms, that is, destructive devices, that were not registered to them in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and that were made in violation of the provisions of Chapter 13 of Title 26, United State Code; in violation of Title 18/26 United States Code, Section(s) 371/5861.
I further state that I am a(n) Special Agent, FBI and that this complaint is based on the following facts:
SEE ATTACHED AFFIDAVIT
I, Patrick W. Wease, being sworn, state
1. I am an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and have been so employed for 16 years. I am vested with authority to investigate violations of federal laws, including Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, and Title 26, United States Code, Sectio 5861
2. The following information has been received by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on April 19 through 25, 1995.
3. On April 21, 1995, JAMES DOUGLAS NICHOLS was interviewed in Decker, Michigan. During this interview, JAMES NICHOLS stated that he is the brother of TERRY NICHOLS and is a friend of TIMOTHY JAMES MCVEIGH and that both have visited and/or resided with him at his farm in Decker, Michigan, over the past several years. JAMES NICHOLS further stated that he has observed MCVEIGH and TERRY NICHOLS makin and exploding "bottle bombs" at his residence in 1992, using brake fluid, gasoline, and diesel fuel. JAMES NICHOLS further stated that he participated with MCVEIGH and TERRY NICHOLS in making "bottle bombs" in 1992, and that in 1994 he, JAMES NICHOLS, has made small explosive devices using prescription vials, pyrodex, blasting caps, and safety fuse. JAMES NICHOLS further stated that he was aware of "survival books" belonging to his brother, TERRY NICHOLS, and that he knew that those books contained information about making bombs an information dealing with ammonium nitrate bombs. JAMES NICHOLS further stated that he believed that TIMOTHY MCVEIGH had the knowledge to manufacture a bomb. JAMES NICHOLS denied that he had ever purchased ammonium nitrate, and stated that he had no knowledge that TERRY NICHOLS or TIMOTHY MCVEIGH ever purchased any.
4. On or about April 21 through April 24, 1995, FBI agents conducted a search of the farm belonging to JAMES NICHOLS in Decker, Michigan. One of the buildings searched was a pole barn, in which the agents found, among other items, the following: 28 fifty pound bags of fertilizer containing ammonium nitrate; a 55 gallon drum containing fuel oil; large quantities of 35% solution of hydrogen peroxide; and 1/2 pint of aluminum powder. Also located at the farm were large fuel tanks, which appeared to contain diesel fuel. All of these materials can be used as ingredients in improvised explosives. In addition, located in the farm house, the agents found a supply o non-electric blasting caps, pyrodex (black powder), and safety fuse In addition, in a field located in the vicinity of the farm buildings, the agents found jagged-edged metal fragments, which appear to be shrapnel from the detonation of explosive devices.
5. An interview conducted on April 21, 1995, with Daniel Stomber, 5896 Deckerville Road, Evergreen Township, Decker, Michigan, reveals that he was present at the farm of JAMES NICHOLS on several occasion when JAMES NICHOLS and TERRY NICHOLS manufactured small explosive devices. Stomber explained that the Nichols brothers would mix fertilizer, peroxide, and bleach in plastic pop bottles and detonate them around the Nichols farm. Stomber recalls JAMES stating, "We're getting better at it" when he referred to the bombmaking
6. Stomber recalls an individual named Tim (last name unknown) who had moved onto the Nichols farm last year. Stomber described Tim as a guy that wore camouflage clothing frequently and carried a pistol. Stomber believes Tim moved out in the spring of 1994.
7. Stomber recalls JAMES NICHOLS and TERRY NICHOLS frequently making derogatory comments about the incident at Waco, Texas, and the federal government. JAMES also made comments stating that judges and President Clinton should be killed, and that he blamed the FBI and ATF for killing the Branch Davidians in Waco.
8. On April 21, 1995, Paul Isydorak, a neighbor of JAMES NICHOLS was interviewed. Isydorak stated that JAMES NICHOLS was always "fooling around" with common household materials to determine what type of explosive value they had, Isydorak specifically recall Nichols mentioning ammonia as one of the experimental substances. He further recalls observing TERRY NICHOLS and TIM MCVEIGH at the farm participating in the experimentation with explosives
9. On April 21, 1995, Isydorak visited a local bar with JAMES NICHOLS. He overheard JAMES in a conversation with the bartender in which James explained that different types of explosives are used to create different type of explosive effects.
10. On April 21, 1995, a cooperating individual who has requested that his/her identity be protected (hereinafter CI #1) advised Virgi Strickler, the Sheriff of Sanilac County, Michigan, that on or around December 12 or 15, 1993, two individuals visited Thumb Hobbies, Etc., a hobby store in Marlette, Michigan. Marlette is approximately 20 miles from Decker, Michigan. These two individuals inquired about purchasing 100% liquid nitro model airplane fuel. They also wanted to purchase 200 heavy duty zip-lock bags measuring 3 x 5 or 3 x 6 inches. The two were advised that the store only carried 10- 15% liquid nitro model airplane fuel, but that 100% fuel could be ordered. One of the two gave his name as Terry Tuttle, with a contact phone number of (517) 872-4008, and stated they would return Approximately two weeks later, the two individuals returned ad were informed that the store could not or would not obtain the 100% liquid nitro model airplane fuel for them. The individuals stated that this was okay, as they had found another source for the fuel. The two individuals were described by CI #1 as white males, approximately 20 to 30 years of age. I have been advised by an FBI agent with explosives expertise that 100% liquid nitro model airplane fuel can be used in the manufacture of improvised explosives, in conjunction with an oxidizer such as hydrogen peroxide.
11. Investigation to date conducted by the FBI has determined that "Terry Tuttle" and "Tim Tuttle" are known aliases of TIMOTHY MCVEIGH. In addition, the telephone number left at the hobby store by "Terry Tuttle," (517) 872-4008, is one digit different from JAMES NICHOLS' telephone number of (517) 872-4018. Also, during the April 21 through April 24, 1995, search of the Nichols farm, mail addressed to Tim or Terry Tuttle was observed inside the residence.
12. An interview was conducted on April 24, 1995, with a cooperating individual who has requested that his/her identity be protecte (hereinafter "CI #2"). CI #2 advised that during the period between August 1987 and May 1990, he/she had occasion to visit the NICHOL farm on a regular basis, approximately 3 or 4 times each year. Approximately 6 years ago, CI #2, during a visit to a shed on the Nichols farm, detected a strong odor of diesel fuel, which he/she described as stronger than on prior occasions. NICHOLS explained that they had been having fun making cardboard bombs. CI #2 observed an empty cardboard milk carton sitting on a work bench in the shed. Als observed in the he shed by CI #2 was a large pile of urea fertilizer, approximately fifty 50-pound bags, which CI #2 knows is a nitroge source of fertilizer. CI #2 stated that he/she has never seen such a sizeable amount of fertilizer.
13. CI #2 recalls that his/her next visit to the NICHOLS farm occurred shortly after some type of bombing disaster had occurred in the world. CI #2 stated that NICHOLS rambled nervously about the United States being responsible for this bombing disaster. NICHOLS went on to explain how a small bomb can do damage such as what had just occurred in the disaster
14. CI #2 advised that NICHOLS repeatedly blamed the federal government for all of the problems in the world, stating that he despised the United States Government.
15. Based upon the above information, there is probable cause to believe that from 1992 through 1995, in the Eastern District of Michigan and elsewhere, defendant JAMES DOUGLAS NICHOLS has conspired with other persons, including TERRY NICHOLS and TIMOTHY JAMES MCVEIGH, to make and possess firearms, that is, destructive devices, that were not registered to them in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and that were made in violation of the provisions of Chapter 53 of Title 26, United States Code; all i violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 and Title 26, United States Code, Section 5861.
/s/ Patrick W. Wease
Special Agent, FBI
Subscribed and sworn before me
this ____ day of April, 1995
United States Magistrate Judge
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