Federal prosecutors charge suspect following multiple arrests for homemade bombs

In this 2019 file photo a Washington County Bomb Squad technician is at Frontier Drive where an old crate containing dynamite was found, Washington City, Utah, March 22, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A St. George man who has been held without bail has been indicted in federal court following an arrest last month when officers in Washington City found explosive devices in the car – one of several similar incidents involving the suspect.

In this 2019 file photo 5th District Court is location where federal hearings are held, St. George, Utah, August, 2019 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Federal prosecutors have picked up the case involving  36-year-old Logan Mertlich of St. George, who was arrested following a traffic stop on Feb. 27 when officers recovered a white box with what appeared to be homemade explosives during a search of the suspect’s vehicle.

Mertlich has been charged with one felony count of transportation of explosive materials, according to the information document filed in U.S. District Court on March 26 by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Dent with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in St. George.

During the February traffic stop, officers found four cylindrical objects with what looked to be an electrical fuse coming from each of the cylinders.

At the time of the arrest, the suspect explained to police he had made the devices using black powder and that making explosives “was a hobby” of his, which was also noted by the officer in charging documents filed in 5th District Court.

The Washington County Bomb Squad took custody of all four devices shortly after the arrest and the defendant was charged with second-degree felony recklessness-incendiary device and third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance for what appeared to be marijuana, methamphetamine and psychedelic mushrooms allegedly found during the search of the car.

This was one of three arrests for Mertlich since 2018 involving explosives.

Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams told St. George News in February that this same suspect was involved in an incident back in January, when the suspect’s four-year-old son was severely injured after one of the devices reportedly made by Mertlich exploded in the child’s hand and “blew it off,” Williams said.

In this 2018 file photo, Crimson Cliffs High School is still under construction in Washington City, Utah, July 27, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

The case was still under review with the Washington County Attorney’s Office until Jan. 16 when he was charged with second-degree felony count of recklessness with an incendiary device and misdemeanor reckless endangerment. That case is still pending in the courts.

In another incident reported in 2018, Mertlich allegedly detonated a device he “personally constructed” on the football field of Crimson Cliffs High School that was under construction at the time.

When officers tracked down Mertlich, he was arrested and his home was searched, which is when officers recovered several pounds of materials to make explosives that were later confiscated. Months later, Mertlich was placed on 36 months probation and fined $172 during a sentencing hearing held in January the following year.

On the current case, the defendant is scheduled to appear in federal court Monday for an initial appearance-change of plea hearing before Magistrate Judge Paul Kohler in St. George. The state charges filed against the defendant following the traffic stop in February were dropped once the federal charge was filed.

Mertlich remains in Purgatory Correctional Facility where he has been held since his arrest in February.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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