Explo co-owner pleads guilty to conspiracy charges

David Smith (Source: Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center)
David Smith (Source: Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center)
Updated: Dec. 14, 2017 at 6:06 PM CST
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CAMP MINDEN, LA (KSLA) - The co-owner of Explo Systems Inc. pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy and false statements concerning the storage of munitions at Camp Minden that led to an explosion, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander Van Hook.

Explo co-owner David Alan Smith, 62, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of making a false statement.

Five other people, including co-owner David Perry Fincher, 68, were charged with one count of criminal conspiracy and multiple counts of making false statements to a federal agency.

Back on Oct. 15, 2012, an explosion happened at munitions storage igloo on Camp Minden.

The explosion contained about 124,190 pounds of smokeless powder and a box van trailer containing nearly 42,240 pounds of demilitarized M6.

The damage destroyed the igloo and trailer, shattered windows of dwellings within a four-mile radius and derailed 11 rail cars.

Explo Systems is a private company whose primary business operation involved the demilitarization of military munitions and the resale of the recovered explosive materials for mining operations.

As part of the guilty plea, Smith agreed he conspired with others to defraud the United States by impeding federal, state and local authorities from properly monitoring the operations at Explo's Camp Minden facility.

He also agreed that he conspired with others to submit false end-use certificates in order to obtain money to which he was not entitled.

Smith faces five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for each count.

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