LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — An April 1 traffic stop led to the arrest of a 43-year-old Las Vegas man on a wide range of explosives and credit card fraud charges after he told officers items in the car were “fireworks,” according to a Metro police arrest report.
Officers pulled over Christopher Camacho on Flamingo Road between Koval Lane and Paradise Road when they noticed an unusual amount of white smoke from the vehicle’s exhaust. During the stop, officers asked if there were any weapons in the vehicle, and Camacho told them he had a bb gun in the back seat.
Officers asked Camacho and his passenger, Danielle Owens, to get out of the car, and they asked Camacho for permission to search the vehicle. He agreed, according to the police report.
When an officer asked Camacho if there were any other weapons in the vehicle, he said he had some fireworks.
But officers found an item that prompted them to call the bomb squad. Officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s All-Hazard Regional Multi-Agency Operations and Response (ARMOR) unit, and the LVMPD Counter Terrorism section were also called.
Officers found “a copper cylinder which had been soldered at the top and bottom and had an ingnition wick protruding from the top,” according to the report. The also found a clear plastic tube on the floor to the left of the driver’s seat containing a powdery substance similar to explosive powder found in fireworks, and another wick in the back seat.
The passenger, Owens, told officers at the scene that Camacho has made explosives from empty CO2 cartridges and gun powder. She said he set them off in the desert. Owens said she wasn’t aware of the device police found in the car.
“She also stated that he would place the explosive device in an old refrigerator and blow it up,” according to police, and that he was cutting something with a disk cutter in the Motel 6 room they were staying in on Boulder Highway.
Camacho was arrested on charges of possession of an explosive device, and possession of components of explosives with intent to use them.
The information from Owens — and other items found in the car, including credit cards and a card re-encoding device and a portable external hard drive — prompted police to get a search warrant for the Motel 6 room and bring in officers from the Fraud and Forgery detail.
During the search of the room, officers found a cell phone, a computer tablet, a camera, a car title, papers and a notebook, along with computer storage devices.
The also found two debit cards that had been altered. While Camacho’s name was on the cards, the magnetic stripe had be re-encoded to connect to accounts in different banks, according to the police report.
Officers also found personal identification information, incuding social security numbers, for five people.
Camacho was booked on three additional charges: possession of a scanning device/re-encoder, obtaining another person’s ID of 5+ persons, and forgery of a credit/debit card with intent to defraud.
Camacho remains in the Clark County Detention Center, with a court appearance scheduled for Thursday morning.
During a interview, Camacho said he had no intent of hurting anyone with the “fireworks,” and that he just liked to set them off in the desert with his son, according to the police report.
He told officers he collected the explosive powder from model rocket engines.
The Nevada Department of Corrections website reveals more about Camacho’s history. It lists previous convictions for a drug charge, stealing a car and having a gun as a felon.