August 6, 2022 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Criminal Defense, News & Announcements, Violent Crimes Social Share
Orange County Police are requesting citizens to keep an eye out for red flags for homemade explosives with a new collaborative program titled “Operation Flashpoint.” Local Orlando law enforcement has teamed up with federal authorities to create an initiative for individuals to report suspicious activity for making homemade explosives.
The head of Operation Flashpoint, Chuck Leas, warns business owners to be aware of specific product purchases of items that are legal, but can create homemade explosives. “And if you think it looks weird, a lot of times it may be suspicious,” Leas said. “Just call the number on for some professionals to do a check because there may be something that where this person is something another part of the country and now they can tie it so we need that help.”
We will provide details on the program and its objectives, and how the initiative is set to empower the community to take an active role.
What is the Program?
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have paired up with police in Central Florida to help provide helpful information to residents on how to spot suspicious purchases to make homemade bombs. The program is called “Operation Flashpoint” and Orange County Undersheriff Mark Canty says it can “potentially help law enforcement stop an attack before it happens.”
A tweet posted on the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) shows images of the collaboration between the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orlando Police, and FBI Tampa. The tweet states: “Business owners can be the first line of defense against a potential bombing attack.”
According to CISA’s website, businesses that sell common household products could be targeted by people attempting to create improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The main type of stores that may be targeted are beauty supply stores and hardware stores. IEDs can be made with items including bleach or nail polish. According to the FBI, there are around 250,000 stores across the United States that sell products that could potentially be used to make explosives.
“Hardware, pool supply, gun stores, sporting goods stores, fireworks stores,” Charles Leas of CISA said of the places where materials for IEDs can be purchased.
The CISA data reported that there were 381 explosive-related incidents in the nation last year, with 35 incidents happening within the state of Florida.
The main objective of Operation Flashpoint is to safeguard relevant products, identify suspicious activity, and report concerns of suspicious activity to law enforcement. CISA has a Bomb-Making Materials Awareness Program (BMAP) that provides educational videos, training resources, and provide in-person outreach to help local businesses get educated on the potential threats of IEDs.
The benefits of Operation Flashpoint are as follows:
- Improving the prevention, mitigation, and risk management opportunities to stay ahead of any potential threats
- Enhancing public/private partnerships
- Increasing private sector point-of-sale awareness
- Increasing identification of suspicious activity and purchasing behavior
- Improving recognition and reporting to the appropriate officials
To report any suspicious activity regarding IEDs, contact your local law enforcement department or call 1-800-CALL-FBI. You can also report suspicious activity online here.
Florida Statute Section 790.001(4) defines a destructive device as any device which is constructed to explode and cause bodily harm or property damage. The following is a list of items that are considered a destructive device:
- Any similar device that contains an explosive, incendiary, or poison gas
Penalties for a Homemade Explosive in Florida
Florida Statute Section 790.161 outlines the charge of making and using destructive devices. Getting caught with a destructive device can lead to harsh consequences. If an individual makes, possesses, throws, projects, places, discharges, or attempts to make, possess, throw, project, place, or discharge any destructive device commits a third-degree felony. A third degree felony is punishable by a prison sentence up to 5 years.
If an individual is caught with a destructive device and it was created with the intention to harm another person or piece of property, or caused a disruption in government operations, commerce, or private activities, then it is considered a first-degree felony. The punishment for a first-degree felony is up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.
If the destructive device went off and resulted in the death of another human, it is considered a capital felony. A capital felony in Florida has the penalty of either life in prison, or the death penalty.
The partnership for the campaign has received high praise on all sides. CISA Executive Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security Dr. David Mussington claims that one of the key elements in fighting domestic terrorism is to raise the public awareness. The CISA wants to work with local authorities to remind the public that if they witness any suspicious activity, to say something.
“Bomb threats are a serious threat to local communities across the United States,” Mussington said.
Leas agreed with the sentiment, saying that they are striving to build a vigilant network of eyes and ears around the nation. “We are trying to make the community safer, but in the end, we can only make it safe if you help us,” Leas said.
Orange County Sheriff Canty said, “Anytime we can partner with other law enforcement agencies, the community is much, much safer.”
You can watch the full video press release on Operation Flashpoint here.
Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida
If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, your first move should be reaching out to a skilled Florida defense attorney in your area. A criminal conviction can lead to a long road of difficulty. Along with expensive fines, you could face imprisonment, or have issues in the future getting a job or a house. Working with an experienced attorney is the best way to ensure that you have a strong defense built for your case. Pumphrey Law Firm has represented clients across the state, and we will always stand in your corner and fight for your freedom. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message for a free consultation today.
Written by Karissa Key