A Florida man accused of carrying explosives to a rally in January recently saw the most serious charges against him dropped after an investigation found the items he possessed didn’t have the capability of exploding.
Court records show three charges of making, possessing, or discharging a destructive device—felonies that could have brought up to 15 years in jail—were dropped because a forensic examination by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined they were legal “‘novelty devices’ that emit smoke but do not explode if ignited,” prosecutors said in a filing in the case, which was brought against Garrett Smith.
The arrest of Smith at a rally held in support of a man who’s in jail on charges linked to the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol breach was announced by Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who described an item in Smith’s backpack as “the explosive device.”
A police report filed in court said Smith, who was arrested after fleeing the protest on Jan. 6, said he appeared to have “a destructive device/pipe bomb.”
The item was examined by FBI bomb experts, who determined it was “a homemade m-type destructive device,” according to the booking officer.
A spokeswoman for the office declined to comment on the dropping of the felony charges.
“The stuff he had on him, he’s an adult, and he was legally allowed to carry,” Nicholas Dorsten, who is representing Smith, told The Epoch Times.
“They’re smoke bombs that don’t explode; they just emit a puff of smoke,” he added.
Smith still faces a second-degree misdemeanor charge of loitering and prowling.
When he was arrested, the defendant was carrying materials linked to Antifa, a far-left, anarcho-communist network, authorities said. Additionally, Smith had recently traveled from Portland, Oregon, which hosts one of the largest contingents of Antifa members and supporters in the country.
Smith and his counsel are waiting to receive police reports and other evidence before deciding on how to proceed.
“We’re going to look at all options. But he spent a good amount of time in jail, hopefully it’s a good wake-up call for him. Hopefully, he learned ‘be careful what you do,’ and I told him, ‘Florida is not Oregon.’ There’s certain things he maybe could get away with in other states that yeah, you don’t want to try that stuff here,” Dorsten said.