David Michael Ansberry, 66 years old, of Berkley, California was sentenced to 324 months (27 years) in federal prison for attempting to detonate an improvised explosive device outside of the Nederland Police Station in Nederland, Colorado, U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn and FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips announced. United States District Court Judge Christine Arguello entered the sentence against Ansberry on January 25, 2019. Ansberry was remanded into the custody of the United States Marshals.
Ansberry pled guilty without a plea agreement on July 18, 2017, to use and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. According to facts relied upon during sentencing, including a statement of facts filed with the Court, before dawn on October 11, 2016, Ansberry placed a radio-controlled explosive device that was concealed in a backpack at the foot of a police parking sign at the Nederland Police Station. Ansberry, who had rented a room at an Inn across the street, attempted to detonate the bomb by calling an attached telephone multiple times. A Nederland citizen testified that he was on a balcony directly above the bomb when Ansberry tried to detonate it. However, the bomb failed to detonate. The backpack was then recovered by a police officer who, without realizing its contents, brought the bomb into the station. When the officer realized that the backpack contained a bomb, he evacuated the station and plaza in which it was located.
The Boulder County Regional Bomb Squad, Nederland Police Department, Nederland Fire Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and medical and hazardous materials teams responded to the incident. Using two robots, law enforcement officers removed the bomb from the police station and tested its contents. Those tests revealed the high explosive, hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD), as well as other chemicals and hardened objects inside the backpack. Using the robots and an inert aluminum slug, bomb squad members detonated the HMTD in place due to its instability and explosiveness.
Ansberry was evacuated from the Inn by the Nederland Fire Department before the HMTD was detonated. He was arrested on October 16, 2016, at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois after the investigation quickly identified him as the bomber. FBI Agents found “STP” stickers in his luggage that matched an STP sticker found at the scene of the bombing. That sticker represented the logo of a counterculture group called, “Serenity, Tranquility, and Peace,” that resided near Nederland in the 1960’s and 1970’s and of which Ansberry had been a member. The STP sticker found at the scene of the bombing had hand-written on it, “RIP Deputy Dawg Murdered by Marshal 7/17/71.” This was a reference to an STP member named Guy Howard Gaughner who had been murdered in Nederland in 1971. A diary recovered from Ansberry contained entries referring to the death of Gaughner and saying, “Poor Deputy. REVENGE is called for.”
In sentencing Ansberry, Judge Arguello applied the terrorism enhancement in the United States Sentencing Guidelines, finding that Ansberry’s actions were calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government or to retaliate against government conduct.
“We’re pleased that the Court saw this case for what it is – an act of domestic terrorism. These are among the most serious cases that we prosecute,” said United States Attorney Jason Dunn. “Together with our law enforcement partners, we are committed to aggressively prosecuting these cases to protect the life and safety of all our citizens, particularly those who serve and protect the public.”
“The FBI is committed to proactively and thoroughly investigating national security matters and protecting our citizens from those who intend to cause harm in our communities,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips. “Thanks to the diligence and perseverance of our investigators and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, David Ansberry will now face the consequences of his actions. A special thanks to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office and Nederland Police Department. Their assistance and support was instrumental in this investigation.”
This case was investigated by the Denver Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation together with the Nederland Police Department, Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Longmont Police Department, Boulder Country Regional Bomb Squad, Nederland Fire Department, and the FBI Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center Explosives Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Gregory Holloway and David Tonini, and Trial Attorney Jennifer Levy of the Department of Justice Counterterrorism Section, are handling this prosecution.