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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 5:37 pm | Fair 62º


San Pedro Man Arrested in Connection with Explosive Device in Isla Vista

Citizen turns in suspicious black case discovered in bushes

The discovery of an explosive device in Isla Vista has led to the arrest of a man from San Pedro.

Nelson Paul Chandler
Nelson Paul Chandler

A citizen found a small black case in some bushes near Embarcadero Del Mar and Cordoba Road in Isla Vista on May 7. The citizen opened the case and found several items, including wires, brass shell casings and plastic pill containers. Because of the suspicious nature of the contents, the male subject brought the case to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department’s Isla Vista Foot Patrol Station.

The male subject showed sheriff’s deputies what was inside the case, which deputies immediately recognized as potentially dangerous. A sheriff’s deputy searched the contents of the black case and was able to identify the name Nelson Paul Chandler of San Pedro.

A deputy was then able to locate an address in Isla Vista associated with Chandler’s name. Upon contacting the residents of the apartment in the 6500 block of Cordoba Road, deputies learned that Chandler was at the apartment. He was cooperative when deputies questioned him about the black case and its contents, which he confirmed were his. Chandler was not taken into custody at that time.

Because of the potential volatility of some of the contents, the items were turned over to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad, which determined that several of the items were built to be destructive devices.

Based on the testing and evaluation by the Bomb Squad, the Sheriff’s Department believed Chandler was in violation of charges related to possession of destructive devices and possession of materials with the intent to manufacture destructive devices.

Last Friday, a search warrant was served at Chandler’s residence in the 2900 block of South Carolina Street in San Pedro. In addition to the search warrant, an arrest warrant also was prepared for Chandler.

In preparation for the service of the search warrant in San Pedro, and due to the nature of the investigation, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Bomb Squad personnel contacted members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Bomb Squad. In addition to the LAPD Bomb Squad, the Harbor Area station of the LAPD was contacted and agreed to assist with the service of the search warrant. The search warrant was served on Chandler’s residence, and he was taken into custody without incident.

During the service of the search warrant, investigators found items consistent with the manufacturing of explosive devices and other items that were consistent with those discovered inside of the black case found in Isla Vista. In addition, investigators discovered unknown chemical liquids at the San Pedro residence that prompted the Los Angeles Police Department to summon its Hazardous Materials team.

The LAPD Haz-Mat team was able to identify the unknown chemicals so they could be handled accordingly. During this time period, several residences in the 2900 block of South Carolina Street were evacuated for safety purposes. Residents were allowed back into their homes a short time later.

Chandler, age 21, was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on Saturday on a $50,000 warrant for violations of possession of destructive devices and possession of materials with the intent to manufacture destructive devices. Chandler posted bond and was released from jail Wednesday afternoon.

— Drew Sugars is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

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