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Pipe bombs, machine guns seized from Monson's business leading to 16 new charges

Chad Monson

WILLMAR — Authorities have seized a second cache of explosive devices, machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and other weapons they allege belong to former businessman Chad Lee Monson, 47, of Willmar.

Handcuffed and shackled and wearing Kandiyohi County Jail clothing, Monson appeared Monday in Willmar before District Judge Stephanie Beckman to face 16 new charges, 15 of them felonies, for the arsenal authorities seized Feb. 21 from a large shed on property he used for his excavating business.

Monson faces two felony charges for explosive devices; 11 felony charges for machines guns and short-barreled shotguns; a felony charge for a firearm with an altered serial number; a felony charge for a suppressor or silencer; and a gross misdemeanor charge for fifth-degree drug possession.

These charges come on top of the felony charges for illegal firearms and suspected explosives discovered in a Jan. 30 search of his residential property.

Judge Beckman ordered that bail be set at $500,000 unconditional and $250,000 with conditions on the new set of charges. The court had previously reduced Monson's bail to $50,000 on the original charges, but he has remained incarcerated in the Kandiyohi County Jail since his arrest on Jan. 30.

According to allegations in the most recent criminal complaint, Kandiyohi County sheriff's officers and members of the CEE-VI Drug and Gang Task Force and Minneapolis Bomb Squad, and other law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at a rural property southeast of Willmar where Monson operated his excavating business. In a shed there they found two live PVC pipe bombs with fuses intact; eight machine guns, two of them Uzi models; two short-barreled shotguns of different models; three suppressors; two five-gallon pails containing explosive materials for making explosive devices; various detonators and other ignition devices; and a plastic film container that tested positive for methamphetamine.

The weapons were found in weapons cases, a guitar case, and in pails, according to the allegations.

Monson is not allowed to possess firearms as part of the conditions for his prior arrests.

The complaint alleges that prior to the searches of his property, Monson told an individual that he located the residence of a judge, a prosecutor, and another attorney and intended to use or "plant" explosives in or near those persons' vehicles or homes.

Prosecutor Suelana Kinney with the Kandiyohi County Attorney's office asked the court to increase Monson's bail requirements to $500,000 or $250,000 with conditions. She pointed out that bail had been reduced based on the justification that all of the alleged contraband had already been seized. "It turns out not to actually have been true,'' she told the court.

Monson asked that a public defender be appointed, and told the court that he has not been able to access his assets due to the bankruptcy of his business and a divorce case.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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