ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Our History

Explosives and Bombings


Eric Rudolph

The Crime

On July, 27, Eric Rudolph planted a bomb in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia, where thousands had gathered to celebrate the Olympics. The resulting explosion killed one and injured over 100. Rudolph carried out three additional bombing incidents between 1996 and 1998 in Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama, killing one and injuring over 50. Two of the Atlanta bombings had secondary devices, timed to detonate after law enforcement officers had arrived on the scene.

 

 

The Investigation

A task force comprised of ATF, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Alabama Bureau of Investigation, Atlanta (Georgia) and Birmingham (Alabama) Police Departments and other local agencies gathered evidence and coordinated investigative leads. ATF provided forensic examination of all explosives evidence, including reconstruction of each device and identification of the components. Shortly after the 1998 Birmingham bombing, investigators identified Eric Rudolph as a suspect. He fled into the North Carolina woods before Agents could arrest him.

 

 

The Arrest

For over five years, Rudolph evaded one of the largest manhunts in U.S. history, hiding out in rural North Carolina. In May 2003, Police Officer Jeff Postell spotted Rudolph foraging in a trash bin behind a grocery store and arrested the elusive outlaw.

The Adjudication

Rudolph pled guilty in 2005 to federal charges for the three bombing incidents in Atlanta and one in Birmingham. He received four life sentences without the possibility of parole.

 

Marcus Toney Case

The Crime and Investigation

In 2000, Marcus Toney was killed instantly when he opened a booby-trapped gift package. His “gift” contained two electrically initiated pipe bombs. A subsequent investigation by ATF, Chicago (Illinois) Police Department and U.S. Postal Inspections Service determined that Toney’s wife was having an affair with Sienky Lallemand, a convicted felon. Lallemand had also stolen Toney’s identity, accruing debts of $200,000.

 

 

 

The Arrest and Adjudication

Sienky Lallemand, who had fled to Jamaica and undergone plastic surgery to change his identity, was arrested in Los Angeles, California. He was sentenced to four consecutive life terms without parole. Marcus Toney’s wife, Lisa, was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Four additional defendants were charged and convicted of conspiracy, fraud and harboring a fugitive. They received sentenced ranging from one year probation to 15 years imprisonment.

Viper Militia

The Crime and Investigation

In 1995, ATF received intelligence that Phoenix Viper Militia not only possessed illegal weapons, but also planned bombing attacks. ATF infiltrated the militia and learned of a scheme to target and kill ATF and other law enforcement officers. Viper members participated in training and tactical exercises in the desert, where they used explosive devices and machine guns. The group also recorded instructional videos about how to destroy building, including ATF’s office and other federal buildings in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Arrest and Adjudication

In July 1996, ATF Agents arrested in 12 Viper Militia members and seized 50 machine guns, blasting caps, black powder, bomb-making chemicals, 1,200 pounds of ammonium nitrate and thousands of ammunition. A federal grand jury indicated all 12 individuals on firearms and explosives charges. Ten pled guilty, while two others were found guilty at trial. Sentencing ranged from five years probation to 10 years imprisonment.