A Washington man is facing federal criminal charges after authorities say they found thousands of explosives in his van in a Hooters parking lot last Friday.
According to federal court documents, a witness told Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officers that they had obtained two small explosive devices from 53-year-old Peter Westhaver. The devices were described as small red plastic balls filled with 36 grams of flash powder and a pyrotechnic fuse, which the arrest affidavit said are commonly known as “ping pong ball bombs.”
The affidavit noted that the witness who implicated Westhaver agreed to cooperate with authorities “in an attempt to mitigate potential charges or sentencing arising out of his/her possession of the devices.”
Undercover officers met with Westhaver at a Spokane Valley Hooters on June 28, the affidavit stated. They went inside the restaurant, where Westhaver allegedly “talked extensively about his explosives manufacturing operation” and told them he had the devices in his Ford Windstar in the parking lot.
At that point, Westhaver was taken into custody and consented to a search of his vehicle, according to the affidavit. Officers said they found 18 orange Home Depot buckets inside, each filled with “approximately 300 individual ‘ping pong ball bombs.’”
Westhaver has been charged with dealing in explosive materials without a license and is being held without bond in Spokane County Jail. If convicted, he could face up to ten years in prison, First Assistant US Attorney Joe Harrington said Tuesday.
Westhaver was indicted on the charge by a federal grand jury Tuesday and entered a not guilty plea Thursday. He has waived his right to a bail hearing. Andrea George, director of the public defender's office representing Westhaver, declined to comment on the details of the case.