ATF: More explosives could be hidden in Harlan trail cameras

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and state police put out a safety alert about potential improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that could be hidden inside trail cameras in Harlan County.

As we reported, investigators say there have been three confirmed cases of IEDs exploding and injuring people.  State police say nine IEDs were located and dismantled. But others could exist.

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State police say 39-year-old Mark Sawaf of Harlan was in federal custody earlier this month when he led investigators to some IEDs in wooded areas. Troopers say during the search, Sawaf tried to escape. They say there was an altercation, and that’s when Lexington Fire Captain Brad Dobrzynski shot and killed Sawaf.

The safety advisory says, “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.”

Investigators say you should not handle any trail cameras, tree stands, or any other items, unless they belong to you.  Anyone who comes across a possible IED should immediately call law enforcement and provide GPS coordinates, if possible.  Kentucky State Police Post 10 can be reached at 606-573-3131. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is at 859-219-4500.