Pasco Man Sells Pipe Bomb & Pistol to Undercover Detective

Pasco Man, James John Hall, 34, of Zephyr Hills is in custody after he sold a pipe bomb to an undercover Pasco County detective for $800.

The investigation began when a Tampa police detective was informed by one of his snitches, I mean Confidential Source, that he was in contact with a man, (Hall) who said he was in possession of a pipe bomb at his residence in Zephyr Hills. The detective then notified the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE.)

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According to the Federal Criminal Complaint, the ATF agent who took over the investigation spoke with the CS who told him that he and Hall became acquainted through a relative. Hall also sold the CS and the relative cannabis frequently. As Hall became more comfortable with the CS, he sent him a picture of a pipe bomb that he produced which consisted of several small glass jars painted in camouflage used as shrapnel, and then taped together to the pipe bomb/explosive portion.

“During ensuing conversations with Hall, the CS learned that Hall had contemplated using the pipe bomb to target an individual identified only as ‘Kiko,’” the complaint read in part. “Hall complained that he had sold a gun to Kiko that Kiko later dropped during a robbery. Hall claimed police had traced the gun back to him and had questioned him about the robbery.”

At this time, Pasco County detective Meisner joined the investigation and met with Hall to purchase the explosive device. 

“A deal was set up for Hall to sell the pipe bomb for $800,” explained Roger Handberg, U.S. State Attorney of the Middle District of Florida. “On Nov. 2, just one day after Hall had first contacted the confidential source about the pipe bomb an undercover officer with the Pasco sheriff’s office purchased the pipe bomb. At the meeting, Hall also offered to sell a firearm which the undercover officer also purchased.”

According to the criminal complaint, Hall told the detective to be at least 5 yards away before detonating the device. The detective asked Hall if he could build another device, according to the federal complaint, to which Hall replied, “I got enough to build six more.”

Officials said the confidential informant also received a text message from Hall with an image of a “Glock switch.” According to ATF, the switch could be used to convert a Glock pistol to a machine gun. This weapon requires registration, and a search of the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record conducted on Nov. 2, revealed no records for Hall.

The detective also purchased the pistol from Hall.

After the purchase was completed, the device was disassembled by ATF bomb technicians. According to the ATF, the disassembly and examination of the device revealed a metal pipe that was sealed at both ends (with end caps) and filled with suspected pyrotechnic powder, with a suspected pyrotechnic fuse inserted into one of the end caps. The pipe was taped to suspected mixed explosive materials. The explosive was determined to be Tannerite, which is a mixture of Ammonium Nitrate and Aluminum Powder used in exploding targets.

The ATF agent says he found no records for Hall in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record, indicating he was unlawfully in possession of the device.

Hall faces charges of distribution of explosive materials, possession of a firearm not registered, and the unlawful making of a firearm.

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