COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Indiana Guardsman who pleaded guilty Tuesday to having homemade explosive devices in his vehicle in Ohio played the role of an enemy fighter when he helped train troops departing for war zones and wanted to make the job as real as possible, his attorney said.
Over time, Andrew Boguslawski started to add explosives to the training and gradually became reckless in his approach to the homemade weapons, said his lawyer, Steve Nolder.
Boguslawski, who goes by his middle name, Scott, pleaded guilty to possessing unregistered explosives in his car when he was stopped in Ohio in January. He faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing, which has not been set.
The explosives started small, but "then they got progressively bigger and bigger," Nolder said after Tuesday's hearing in federal court in Columbus.
"Over time he's just begun to get reckless," Nolder said. "He'd be the first now to acknowledge the recklessness with which he transported these items."
The devices put Boguslawski and the troopers who stopped him in danger, Nolder said.
Ohio State Police stopped Boguslawski in January for doing 88 mph in a 70 mph zone on Interstate 70. The government says he was on his way back to Indiana after visiting family in Pennsylvania.
Boguslawski conducted the training at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, Nolder said.
The Indiana National Guard, which operates the center, declined to comment on Boguslawski's work there because it's part of the criminal investigation. Boguslawski remains a member of the Indiana Guard, spokeswoman Lt. Col. Cathy VanBree said by email.
Boguslawski, 44, of Moores Hill, Indiana, pleaded guilty to one count of illegal possession of destructive devices.
Boguslawski had nine unregistered bombs found in his car and four devices that could be converted into bombs, according to the plea agreement. He also agreed to forfeit all destructive devices and bomb-making materials seized by the government, which Nolder said included 20 explosive devices or components found at his home.
Nolder said he didn't believe the government bore any responsibility for Boguslawski's actions, though his client may have felt validated by the work he did at the training center.
The devices could have caused "serious bodily harm or death," Assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Dominguez said Tuesday.
Investigators found numerous videos and photographs showing Boguslawski, family members and associates — including Boguslawski's 16-year-old niece — blowing up several devices, according to a criminal complaint filed last month.
Video evidence showed that Boguslawski had used explosive devices as weapons and distraction devices near civilians and military personnel, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The government says nine of the devices could have caused injuries or death if they went off.
The devices were described as heavy plastic bottles filled with explosive "flash" powder with fuses in lids for ignition.
The complaint didn't say where the devices were blown up but said his niece lives in Ford City, northeast of Pittsburgh.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.