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A metal mailbox exploded on Tunyo Street after vandals placed a dry ice bomb inside of it Wednesday night. The teens drove up from the Española Valley in a brown jeep, mixed dry ice and water inside plastic Gatorade bottles and went on a destructive spree exploding the devices throughout the area, according to police reports.
Residents alerted police who quickly spotted the Jeep at about 10 p.m. and pulled it over. Ofc. Kevin Perno approached the vehicle and found it loaded with five teenagers, empty and full plastic water bottles and a black bucket of dry ice.
The teens include a 17-year-old male driver and his passengers Humberto Sinaloa, 19, Brandon Gasca, 19, a 16-year-old female and another 17-year-old male.
While Perno worked the scene, Sgt. Andrew Goldie located two devices that had exploded at the intersection of Barranca Road and Venado, another at Venado and Cervato, a fourth on Tunyo Street and a fifth unexploded bomb on Venado.
Los Alamos Police Bomb Technician Sgt. Fred Rascon was called out and rendered the device harmless, according to the report.
It was determined from talking with the teenagers that they conspired to travel to Los Alamos to deploy the explosive devices in and around mailboxes “so they could hear them explode,” according to the report.
Lt. Reggie Briggle explained that dry ice bombs are highly volatile, not only capable of causing property damage, but also serious injury and even death.
“We cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to mix dry ice and water inside plastic bottles,” Briggle said. “There are very serious risks associated with dry ice bombs such as premature explosions in which the burst pressure can occur within seconds and injure the handler. Shrapnel from the blast is a danger to anyone in the vicinity of the device. Also, the shock wave from the explosion can be extremely loud and cause permanent hearing damage, even at substantial distances.”
The jeep was towed away and the two 19-year-olds, Gasca and Sinaloa, were arrested and booked into the Los Alamos County Detention Center. They have been charged with five counts of Conspiracy, Criminal Damage to Property and Dangerous Use of Explosives (Felony), and three counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.
The two 17-year-old boys and the 16-year-old girl were cited with five counts of Conspiracy, Criminal Damage to Property and Dangerous Use of Explosives and released to their parents.
“I think that it’s a shame when sometimes what young people view as a prank can really turn out to be disastrous as it has in this case with the serious crimes they now face,” said Police Chief Wayne Torpy. “This could have been catastrophic had pedestrians passed by at just the wrong time.
“I really urge young people to think of their actions and the consequences of those actions, which could literally ruin their lives.”