A Chicago Transit Authority mechanic is charged with manufacturing homemade explosives and attempting to sell them to an undercover agent.
The undercover agent, who’s name isn’t being released, told 34-year-old CTA mechanic John Hegarty that he needed the explosives to blow up a restaurant and a car. Officials say Hegarty and the undercover agent met in a parking lot near Hegarty’s home where he sold the undercover agent approximately 700 flash powder explosive devices between August 2012 and May 2014.
“He admitted to manufacturing them in his garage in a residential area. The inherent danger is obvious to himself and his neighbors,” said Tom Ahern, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was tipped off in August 2012 by an undercover informant who reportedly saw Hegarty set off some illegal explosives at a party. The informant notified the ATF, and acted as an intermediary to arrange a meeting between an undercover ATF agent and Hegarty.
The undercover agent requested to purchase flash powder — the combustible powder used in the manufacturing of legal fireworks and illegal explosives — from Hegarty. According to police reports, Hegarty sold the undercover agent approximately 700 flash powder explosive devices between August 2012 and May 2014. Most of the deals occurred in the parking lot near Hegarty’s home, although the police report notes that some occurred outside of this area. Hegarty reportedly told the undercover officer to meet him in the parking lot because his neighbors were police officers.
During 2-year-long investigation, the undercover agent used tape records to capture the audio of the transactions as they took place. The complaint alleges that Hegarty sold roughly 700 flash powder explosive devices in 6 six separate transactions for an approximate total of $7,000.
Authorities arrested Hegarty and charged him with distributing an explosive device in furtherance of a federal crime of violence. He was released on a $10,000 bond.
“I wouldn’t f— around with the gas tank ’cause fumes could seep out. Any of the eighties will take out a window or take off your finger. If you really want to f— up the guy’s car, I could talk to my guy and have longer fuses made, that way you can get the f— outta town,” Hegarty allegedly told the undercover officer during the recorded transactions.