Local News

Actions

UPDATE: Chemicals found at terrorism suspect's home could have caused 'devastating' explosion

Nicolai Mork facing terrorism charges
Grand jury indicts man on terrorism charges
Grand jury indicts man on terrorism charges
Posted at 3:56 PM, Apr 05, 2017

UPDATE APRIL 6: The chemicals found inside Nicolai Mork's home could have caused a devastating explosion, according to a counter terrorism certified trainer. 

13 Action News sat down with Chrisgo Caruthers, who trains people on counter terrorism and IEDs at Counter Terrorism Training, a vocational school in North Las Vegas. 

"That's a lot of materials being brought in the one individual's home," Caruthers said. 

In an indictment, police said they searched Mork's home in December and found hundreds of pounds of chemicals that could be used to make explosive substances, including Tannerite. 

"In itself it is relatively harmless," Caruthers said. "If it's used in the wrong way this stuff could be potentially devastating." 

The indictment said police found more than 250 pounds of chemicals that could make Tannerite, which is legal and used by gun enthusiasts to practice target shooting. 

"Almost 300 pounds of Tannerite, that's not exactly you would see every day," Caruthers said. 

The indictment also said police found chemicals to make Thermite. 

"A tablespoon of Thermite on the hood of a car would burn clean through the engine block, out through the bottom of the oil pan and down to the concrete," Caruthers said. 

Mork maintains his innocence.

UPDATE 11 PM APRIL 5: Joan Mork spoke to 13 Action News by phone from Minnesota about her son's arrest on terrorism charges and how she has struggled to make sense of it all.

"I believe he had some turning point that we don't really understand," she said.

Joan Mork said Nicolai, who's a graduate of MIT, had been wrestling with mental health issues. She believes her son's problems may have begun when he started taking a drug for ADHD.

According to the Associated Press, Nicolai Howard Mork's defense attorney, Nicholas Wooldridge, expressed shock at the charges filed against his client.

Wooldridge told the AP his client legally possessed materials for targets that can explode when shot during firearms target practice. The attorney added that the so-called "binary targets" are commercially available, and are not illegal under federal law.

ORIGINAL STORY

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- The Clark County Grand Jury indicted a man on terrorism-related charges this week.

40-year-old Nicolai Howard Mork faces charges of acts of terrorism or attempted acts of terrorism, unlawful acts related to weapons of mass destruction, possession of component of explosive or incendiary device with intent to manufacture device, possession of explosive or incendiary device, possession of a firearm with an altered or obliterated serial number and possession of a silencer.

According to the indictment, Mork committed the crimes sometime between Oct. 24 and Dec. 31, 2016.

The acts of terrorism charges were related to attempts to light an incendiary device at several different locations in both Las Vegas and Henderson, including a NV Energy transformer box on Commendation Drive, near Buffalo Drive and Spring Mountain Road; a location on Dancing Vines Avenue, near Pyle Avenue and Maryland Parkway; and a location on Coral Sea Street, near Eastern Avenue and St. Rose Parkway.

The indictment says under unlawful acts related to weapons of mass destruction, Mork had in his possession approximately 251 pounds of ammonium nitrate, 26 pounds of aluminum powder and 9.5 pounds of red iron oxide.

Mork was arrested on Dec. 30 after Las Vegas police said he was found with components to make explosive or incendiary devices.

On Dec. 29, Las Vegas police's SWAT team served a search warrant on Mork's residence on Dancing Vines Avenue. Among the items, in addition to the chemicals and substances, were four capped plastic Elrenmeyer flasks of nitric acid, which was segregated from the other chemicals at the home.

According to his arrest report, Mork appeared to realize the dangerous potential of the chemicals in his possession since "it was clearly isolated and stored away from all other organic and inorganic material in a closet by itself."

Police said they believed Mork intended to use the components in his possession to create explosive or incendiary devices.

Mork had been out on custody with a $220,000 bail. Based on the indictment, a judge raised his bail to $8 million.

Mork was taken back in custody without incident Wednesday evening at his home without incident.