Pipe bomb discovered in Ashland residence

By Joyce Brock/Southern Advocate

ASHLAND – Jason Brooks, 41, of Ashland, is being held in Benton County Jail without bond after local law enforcement say they discovered a pipe bomb in his home.
Brooks is charged with possession of an unlawful explosive device. He is being held without bond because he was out of jail on bond at the time of the discovery, due to charges related to crystal methamphetamine. Benton County Sheriff’s Department Investigator David Murphy says that Brooks has a lengthy criminal history.
The pipe bomb was discovered when law enforcement went to Brooks’ home at 256 Hamilton Road to serve a warrant for crystal methamphetamine. Jason Brooks was not at home when authorities arrived, but his son, Jamie Brooks, was there. Chief Deputy Joe Batts, Deputy Janice Elliott and Murphy were on the scene for Benton County Sheriff’s Department. They were joined by representatives of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and the Attorney General’s office. According to Murphy, officers entered the home and fanned out searching for drugs.
What they found was explosives.
Jamie Brooks told WREG in Memphis that his father wasn’t making the bombs to hurt anyone, but was planning to blow up beaver dams this summer.
Murphy says that the bomb had an electrical cord with a plug-in coming from it and was possibly intended to be detonated with electricity.
Investigators also found a potato chip bag filled with potentially dangerous items such as live ammunition, spent rounds, shards of glass and pellets. The bag was wrapped tightly with duct tape to form a small package. Murphy says that they aren’t sure at this time for what the package was intended.
Upon discovery of the explosives, the Sheriff’s Department called in reinforcement. The bomb squad with City of Tupelo Police Department responded. Ashland Fire Department and Medstat Ambulance Service also came to the scene as a precautionary measure.
After approximately six hours on the scene, Murphy says that the bomb squad detonated the bomb outside of the home. The side of the home was peppered with debris from the explosion and some its windows were shattered.
The investigation is ongoing. Jason Brooks’ case will next go before a grand jury for indictment. No determination of guilt has been reached. Jamie Brooks has not been charged with any crime and has no known criminal history.
“The Sheriff’s Department was very active with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and other state and local agencies in this case,” said Chief Deputy Joe Batts.
The Sheriff’s Department is currently investigating a number of drug-related cases. According to Murphy, there are a number of secret indictments which will move forward in coming months.
“It’s important that we work diligently to investigate and prosecute drug related criminal activity. This activity is not only dangerous to drug users, but is known to lead to other crimes, including violence,” said Murphy. “We’re working to keep this county safe.”
Murphy says that if anyone has information that they would like to report, they are encouraged to call the Benton County Sheriff’s Department at 224-8941.
joyce.brock@journalinc.com