SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two San Francisco Bay Area men were in custody on suspicion of manufacturing and selling large quantities of explosives, authorities said Thursday.
Marc Steven Ormando, 47, of Pacifica and Sean Patrick Gunther, 37, of San Pablo were arrested March 6 and face felony charges, including possession of a destructive device and reckless and malicious possession in a public or private place, police Sgt. Danielle Newman said.
It was unclear what the men planned to do with the explosives, she said.
The arrests followed a months-long undercover operation that began after a device was found in a popular nightclub district in San Francisco.
Surveillance video eventually led investigators to the suspects, who apparently built and sold explosives inside their homes, Newman said.
After trying to buy some of the explosives, federal and local undercover investigators later obtained search warrants that led to the discovery of more than 600 explosive devices and chemicals used to make explosives, Newman said.
“These were not firecrackers we’re talking about here,” Newman said. “They had enough material that if something occurred in either one of their homes, it would’ve been catastrophic for the surrounding areas.”
Ormando was booked on 10 counts each of possession of a destructive device and reckless or malicious possession in public or private, and one count each of possession without a permit for materials to make explosives, unlawful possession of explosives and child endangerment.
Gunther was booked on eight counts each of possession of a destructive device, reckless or malicious possession in public or private, sale or transportation of destructive devices and one count each of unlawful possession of explosives with knowledge and possession of methamphetamine.
Ormando and Gunther were being held at the San Francisco jail on bail of $2.75 million and $1.5 million, respectively, the Sheriff’s Department said. Both were due in court on Friday.
It was unclear if the suspects have retained attorneys.