A St. Peters man has been charged with multiple felonies after police found several explosive devices he'd hidden on a rural road in north O'Fallon, acting on a tip from his friends that he planned to use them in a large-scale attack on Black Lives Matter protesters as well as the military and police.
s that Cameron Swoboda, 25, of Suncrest Drive in St. Peters, has been charged with three felony counts of unlawful possession, transport, manufacture, repair or sale of an illegal weapon, with a bail amount set at $50,000 cash-only.
Police reportedly found two pipe bombs, six grenades and a landmine that had been made with a 3D printer. The explosives had been tampered with to add BBs, police say, likely to increase the amount of shrapnel and cause more harm.
According to court documents, Swoboda's friends sounded the alarm to police after he spoke extensively about his dislike for Black and Hispanic people, in addition to Black Lives Matter activists, and after they saw him with the explosive devices in his home.
Additionally, court documents say Swoboda told his friends that he thought that martial law would soon be declared in the country over COVID-19, suggesting that he may have to "go to war" with the military or police. They also told police that Swoboda had more than 1,200 rounds of ammunition in his bedroom.
"The suspect told the friends that he would not hesitate to shoot or kill law enforcement," the documents say. “They described him as very extreme in his beliefs and how he was actively trying to get a belt-fed fully-automatic weapon to use when martial law was imposed."
On June 22, the ATF was assisted by the St. Charles Bomb Squad as they executed a search warrant on an apartment in the 200 block of Casalone Drive in O'Fallon. There they say they found empty shotgun shells that had been cut opened and emptied of their contents — steel shot and gun powder. A resident at the apartment told police he'd seen Swoboda empty the shells about a month prior in order to make an explosive mixture.
Swoboda had reportedly hidden the bodies of six M67-style grenades, as well as the pipe bombs and landmine, in an area in the 1700 block of Dalbow Road in north O'Fallon. Court documents say he led investigators to the hiding spot, where they found the devices in addition to some ammunition.
Police say Swoboda had glued small BBs to the inside of the grenades, as well as the inside of the landmine.
“I do not know of any legitimate reason for these to be glued to the inside wall of these grenades unless the suspect was attempting to produce more fragmentation during a detonation to injure or kill more people,” St. Charles County Bomb Squad Det. Brian Reimer write in the documents. "This added nothing to the structural integrity of the item, and could only have been added to create high speed projectiles during a detonation."
If combined with the gunpowder that had been removed from the shotgun shells at the apartment on Casalone Drive, Reimer says, the devices would have been capable of causing grave injury or even death.
"Through my training and experience I believe if the explosive mixture located at the apartment had been added to any one of the devices found, they could have produced a viable improvised explosive device that could have injured or killed people around it," said Detective Reimer.
Swoboda is currently in custody and pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday. His bail has been set at $50,000 cash-only, and his next hearing is set for July 9.
- Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.
- Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.