Search of property found pipe bombs, firearms

AUGUSTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) –  A judge sentenced a Grovetown convicted felon to federal prison after pleading guilty to possessing a pipe bomb according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall sentenced James Richard Grates II, 36, to 84 months in prison after pleading guilty to Possession of an Unregistered Firearm, a pipe bomb, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. After completion of his prison term, Grates must serve three years of supervised release.

There is no parole in the federal system.

As described in court documents and testimony, in April 2019, personnel from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were called to Grates’ Grovetown mobile home after being alerted about possible unsafe conditions in the residence. Investigators searched the property and seized homemade explosives made from pipe and black powder and additional materials for constructing pipe bombs, along with a shotgun and two rifles, drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Possession of homemade explosive devices is illegal. In addition, as a previously convicted felon, Grates is prohibited from possessing firearms. Grates faces additional state charges related to the case.

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