TAMPA — A Bradenton man faces federal charges after trying to commit a murder-for-hire in Tampa by blowing up a car using a homemade bomb in exchange for $8,000, according to federal arrest reports.
FBI agents and local law enforcement from the Tampa FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested John Nicholas Coors, 20, of 702 51st St. E., after an undercover agent witnessed him build a bomb in a Tampa hotel, plant it in a car, and press a button he thought would detonate it.
But the bomb never went off because Coors had been supplied with inactive explosives by the undercover officer during an investigation that dates back to March 2009, according to the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s reports.
“We picked up some information,” said Special Agent David Dave Couvertier, with the FBI Tampa office. “This individual was a little bit of a concern in that he’s been involved with building improvised explosive devices and getting very proficient.”
According to the criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Tampa, Coors’ father contacted the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives office in Tampa in March 2009 and said his son was “trained in ‘special forces’ type military tactics, considered himself a mercenary, and was proficient in building explosive devices.”
The senior Coors also told the ATF office his son “had been in possession of a bucket containing pure Nitric Acid as well as books on bomb making including the ‘Anarchist Cookbook.’”
An investigation, dubbed “Operation Rocky Bullet,” was initiated into Coors’ activities after he had discussed making bombs with an acquaintance in August 2009.
The witness reported Coors to authorities after he claimed to have made pipe bombs in the past and was in possession of chemicals that could be used to make explosives. The man said he felt Coors was going to “do something foolish.”
According to the criminal complaint, the witness said Coors told him that he had bomb-making chemicals in 5-gallon buckets on the porch of his mother’s apartment in the Springs of Braden River complex on 51st Street East.
During the investigation, the witness began working as a confidential informant and introduced Coors to an undercover agent who said he could supply Coors with explosives, according to reports.
Coors and the undercover agent then hatched plans to kill someone the agent said he did not like. Coors and the undercover agent discussed building the bomb, and how to plant the device in a vehicle to carry out the killing. Coors then agreed to build and detonate the bomb for $8,000, according to the FBI.
“The FBI provided an inert material (for Coors to build the bomb),” Couvertier said “He kept his end of the bargain for $8,000.”
In a Tampa hotel Friday, Coors built a bomb triggering device himself, and used what he thought were active explosives provided by the undercover agent.
Coors and the agent then went to a car in downtown Tampa, where Coors broke into the vehicle and planted the bomb. When Coors got back to the car he and the agent were using, they saw another undercover agent who was portraying the victim enter the vehicle with the “bomb.” Coors then pushed a button on a trigger device to detonate the bomb, but it did not go off.
“When the bomb failed to detonate, Coors panicked and continually pressed the button for the triggering device,” according to the criminal complaint.
Coors was then arrested without incident and taken to the Hillsborough County jail, where he was turned over to U.S Marshals.
Couvertier said the investigation was part of the Tampa FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, a body of law enforcement agencies from several area counts, including Manatee County.
“The Task Force has been out there to identify these kinds of situation and to prevent anyone from getting hurt,” he said.