A Pennsylvania man has pleaded guilty to manufacturing and dealing in explosive materials, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced on Monday.
Ryan Joseph Hribick, 34, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruction of justice and witness tampering, having confessed that he advised a witness to lie to a federal grand jury regarding the charges against him. Istvan Merchanthaler, 44, had pleaded guilty to possession of an unregistered destructive device last year.
The two men were indicted in January 2014, following the discovery of explosives inside a storage locker in East Whiteland Township, Pa., and a subsequent multi-agency investigation into who was responsible for the material.
Merchenthaler had already been charged in 2012 with running an illegal Ponzi scheme. According to the indictment in that case, he stole millions of dollars from investors while pretending to run a prepaid cell phone and phone card business called PhoneCard USA.
Shortly after the explosives were discovered in March 2013, an FBI spokeswoman described them as being of a "significant" quantity.
According to the Justice Department, Hribick constructed improvised explosive devices (IEDs) using materials such as cardboard tubes and PVC pipes. He sold these weapons over the course of nearly four years between 2009 and 2013. The Justice Department statement added that Hribick attempted to "destroy and conceal" some of the materials he had used to construct IEDs after federal agents searched his home.
Investigators have not yet disclosed who purchased the homemade IEDs from Hribick.
Hribick and Merchanthaler each could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison and could be fined as much as $1 million.