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Georgia soldier charged with possession of stolen explosives, drugs

Handcuffs. (Keith Allison/Flickr)

A U.S. Army sergeant is facing multiple charges in Dawson County after an anonymous tip led sheriff’s deputies to discover stolen military explosives and drugs at his home and in his car last week, investigators said.

Sgt. Jesse Gray Phillips, 23, of Dawsonville, was arrested Sept. 3 during a traffic stop and charged with possessing explosives and multiple counts related to prescription drugs, the Dawson County News first reported. After finding military-issue smoke grenades in Phillips’ car, investigators searched his house and discovered the additional explosives and drugs, officials said.

According to warrants obtained by AJC.com, Phillips was in possession of 15 “simulator projectile ground burst M115” destructive explosive devices, as well as four igniter time blasting fuses and three military-issue smoke grenades. He was also charged with possession of pills believed to be Hydrocodone, a schedule II controlled substance, and packages of Clomiphene and Tamoxifen, both considered dangerous drugs.

The 15 explosive devices found at Phillips’ home were stolen from the Camp Merrill U.S. Army Training Facility in Lumpkin County and are used to mimic battle noises in training simulations, Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson said there was no indication Phillips was planning to use the explosives in any kind of attack. Officials are investigating whether the stolen explosives were meant to be sold on the black market, the Dawson County News reported.

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Phillips was booked into the Dawson County Detention Center after his arrest and later released on bond of more than $25,000, a sheriff’s office spokesperson said.

The case is also being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Division, Johnson said.

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© 2020 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution