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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Monday, August 22, 2016
Contact: Special Agent George Huffman

Public Safety Advisory

HARLAN, Ky — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Kentucky State Police Post 10 issue this public safety advisory.

In Harlan County, Kentucky, there have been three confirmed incidents of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) being hidden inside trail cameras, which exploded and injured people.  An operation was conducted and nine IEDs were located and dismantled.  Other devices, however, may still exist.

Some of the trail cameras were found abandoned on paths in rural areas routinely accessed via the Dave Smith Drainage Area (Woodland Hills Subdivision, Harlan, KY), on the Little Black Mountain Spur in Harlan County.  These IEDs were designed to explode when a person inserted batteries into the trail camera.  Other IEDs were designed to be detonated by a trip wire leading to the trail cameras.  In some instances, containers such as milk jugs, protein powder containers, or paint cans were placed nearby the explosive device.  In addition, there is information that a tree stand had been placed in the woods with an explosive device attached.

Authorities caution people to not handle any trail cameras, tree stands, or any other items that they did not place themselves.  If you locate a trail camera, tree stand, or other item for which an IED could have been connected that does not belong to you, do not touch it and immediately notify law enforcement, providing them with the GPS coordinates if possible.  You can contact Kentucky State Police Post 10 (606-573-3131) or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) (859-219-4500).

More information on ATF can be found at


Louisville Field Division