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Explosives found at Ohio Avenue house

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A bomb technician on the scene with the New Mexico State Police and other law enforcement Tuesday morning outside a house in the 900 block of North Ohio Avenue, which was reported to have explosive devices. Multiple Improvised Explosive Devices, also known as IEDs, were found in the house and subsequently rendered safe, according to Officer Dusty Francisco, public information officer with the State Police. The robot seen in the photo was used in the process, as well. (Alex Ross Photo)

New Mexico State Police bomb technicians found multiple Improvised Explosive Devices, also known as IEDs, at a house in Roswell Tuesday.

Officer Dusty Francisco, public information officer with the New Mexico State Police, said Tuesday evening the devices were rendered safe.

The devices were found as part of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in conjunction with Roswell Police after it was reported that a house at the 900 block of North Ohio Avenue might contain explosives.

All evidence was then turned over to the ATF, which is the lead agency on the investigation, Francisco said.

A 31-year-old male suspect was taken to Roswell Police Department where he was questioned by ATF agents. The suspect, whose name was not released before press deadline Tuesday, was later taken to the Chaves County Detention Center, where he remained in custody on federal weapons charges, according to the release.

An entry on the Chaves County Detention Center Jail Book Commit Report stated that an inmate detained on a federal hold for ATF was booked at 1:53 a.m. Monday. The report did not list the name of the individual being held or specific charges.

The investigation began after Roswell Police received calls shortly before 5 p.m. Monday from people in the neighborhood about a man placing multiple firearms in a vehicle parked outside the house, according to a news release issued Tuesday afternoon by the Roswell Police Department.

Roswell Police officers remained on the scene overnight Monday to keep the house secure while awaiting the arrival of bomb State Police technicians from Albuquerque. Another house in the area had been evacuated Monday night as a precautionary measure.

Todd Wildermuth, public information officer with the Roswell Police Department, said Tuesday evening that he was trying to confirm whether the people evacuated had been allowed to return to their home. He did not provide additional details on the evacuation before press time Tuesday.

Tuesday morning, officers from Roswell Police, New Mexico State Police and ATF were on the property of the house, entering and exiting the premises.

Police units and vehicles restricted access to the scene and a post on the Roswell Police Department’s official Facebook page urged the public to avoid the dead-end street in west Roswell, so investigators could complete their work. By 2 p.m. Tuesday, all law enforcement had left the scene.

In the release, Phil Smith, Roswell Police chief, stated that it is important that citizens contact law enforcement when they see something that arouses their suspicions, such as someone placing multiple firearms in a vehicle.

“I commend members of the community who have and will take action to make our city safe,” Smith said. “I also commend the hardworking men and women of the RPD who responded to the callers, collaborating with the public and preventing a potential disaster.”

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.