US Soldier Sentenced For Creating And Detonating Chemical Weapon In Louisiana

Anders Hagstrom | Justice Reporter

A U.S. soldier was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison Tuesday after creating and detonating a chemical bomb near the Fort Polk military base in Louisiana.

Ryan Keith Taylor, 24, detonated a chlorine gas bomb in Kisatchie National Forest near Fort Polk in April 2017, according to the Department of Justice. Three fellow soldiers who were operating in the area heard the explosion, came to investigate, and found Taylor filming the explosion next to a truck. The soldiers reported the incident and investigators returned to the site, which proved dangerous.

“Upon arriving at the site of the explosion, Fort Polk military police investigators examined the scene and began collecting samples at the blast site. One investigator filled a plastic bag with a rock coated in an unknown substance,” a DOJ press release said. “The bag immediately popped and the investigator’s plastic gloves and boots began to melt. He also began to experience difficulty breathing and his skin started burning.” (RELATED: Army Quickly Removes Ad After Realizing Featured Soldier Is A Convicted Rapist)

Another investigator had to be hospitalized after inhaling chlorine gas while searching Taylor’s car after the arrest. Both investigators had their military careers effectively ended by their injuries, according to the DOJ. The lead investigator, Joshua Farbro, has 20 percent of his original lung capacity after inhaling the gas, The Associated Press reported. Taylor was sentenced to 135 months in prison to be followed by five more years of supervised release.

“Taylor produced and detonated a chemical bomb near Fort Polk, causing injury to his fellow soldiers who responded to and investigated the incident,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in a statement. “Today’s sentence holds Taylor accountable for his crime and makes clear that we will not tolerate such conduct. I want to thank the agents and prosecutors who are responsible for this result and our military and local law enforcement partners for their significant contributions to this investigation.”

Chlorine gas was first used as a weapon on the trench-lined battlefields of World War I, though it and other chemical weapons have since been outlawed by the Geneva Convention.

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