Federal agents, including the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), are investigating the reports that ten pounds of high-powered explosives have “gone missing” from a Marine Corps training facility in California.
Authorities are reporting that approximately 10 pounds of the extremely dangerous composition C-4 plastic explosives has disappeared from Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms. It is believed the explosives went missing during a January exercise.
Marine Corps officials, both at Twentynine Palms and in Washington, have referred questions about the missing C-4 – including questions about when the explosives went missing, how they are safeguarded, what units were involved in the exercise, and whether any suspects or persons of interest have been identified – to NCIS, whose spokesman, Jeff Houston declined to answer.
Military officials are working to recover high powered explosives that vanished from a Southern California installation, according to ABC 10News' sources with close military ties.
— 23ABC News (@23ABCNews) February 5, 2021
“Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS does not comment on or confirm details relating to ongoing investigations,” Houston said.
Media reports are indicating that military officials fear the explosives were stolen.
C-4 is one of the most powerful manufactured explosives and is routinely used by the US Special Forces. A single pound of the explosive is capable of destroying a vehicle or single-family house. It can also significantly disrupt rail lines or incapacitate a light traffic bridge. The effect of ten pounds used at once would be much greater.
Officer’s in command of the unit training at Twentynine Palms are considering an extension of the exercise until the explosives are found.
It has also been reported that the commanding officer issued a statement to subordinate commands establishing a monetary reward for any information leading to the discovery of the C-4 and/or those involved in its disappearance.
Sources familiar with the exercises indicate that North Carolina-based Marines are currently training at Twentynine Palms, including the 2nd Marine Division, based out of Camp Lejeune. The 2nd Marine Air Wing, based out of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, is also involved in the exercise.
DHS has not issued any statements related to a foreign terror threat.