Charges expected after HPD find explosives, drugs, firearms

Margaret Allen
Hays Police Department Chief Don Scheibler, center, waits Monday morning as Kansas Highway Patrol officers prepared equipment to transport homemade explosives material allegedly found in an overnight search of 329 W. 11th Street.

An all-night police search and seizure that started Sunday evening and wrapped up around 11:30 a.m. Monday will result in felony charges against a Hays man and woman.

As of noon Monday, the couple were being held on violations related to illegal manufacture of explosives, illegal marijuana growing, and a felon in possession of firearms, said Hays Police Department Chief Don Scheibler.

Charges were set to be filed later in the day, said Scheibler, declining to name names until the paperwork was official.

The Kansas Highway Patrol’s hazardous device unit transported homemade explosive making material from the residential area, said Scheibler.

The house sits on a red-brick street area in the historic older part of Hays. A single-family rental home, 329 is in the second block east of Elm Street and one block north of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

Hays police discovered the alleged explosive material Sunday evening.

“At about 6:45 last night we got a report of a disturbance at 329 W. 11th,” Scheibler said. “An officer responded and made contact with the occupants of the house, and observed some things in plain view that made them suspect drug related items inside the house.”

The police were at the house, including blocking off the street, all night and Monday morning.

“We got the search warrant sometime during the middle of the night,” Scheibler said around 7:15 a.m. Monday morning. “During the search of the house, some bomb-making material, explosive-making material, was located, so we contacted the Kansas Highway Patrol, and they brought out their bomb unit, and we’re in the process of trying to make the scene safe.”

While evacuation wasn’t required, some residents of the block chose to leave their homes.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation was also on the scene. Scheibler said HPD also contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“Initially we thought it was going to be a meth lab-type situation,” Scheibler said. “But at this point there’s no indication of a meth lab inside the house. It’s not a meth lab, it just appears to be some homemade explosive material.”

Neighbors said the police removed a couple dogs from the home.

Hays Police Department officers Monday morning were searching and securing  a house at 329 W. 11th Street, where homemade explosives material was allegedly discovered.