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Criminal Probe Launched in Texas Fertilizer Plant Blast

The remains of the fertilizer plant that exploded in the town of West, Texas, on April 17.

The remains of the fertilizer plant that exploded in the town of West, Texas, on April 17. (Mike Stone/Reuters /Landov)

Authorities in Texas announced Friday that that they're launching a criminal investigation into the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people and devastated the small community of West.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw directed the Texas Rangers to join McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara in the investigation.

Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed Friday that an individual from West has been arrested for possession of an explosive device. But, the wire service says, "it remained unclear whether there was a connection to last month's explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town."

The local KXAN-TV is saying that "a former emergency volunteer in West was arrested in McLennan County Friday morning on a charge of possessing a destructive device, but authorities would not say if it was related to the deadly April 17 explosion." The Dallas Morning News says he will be appearing in court later today.

Categories: Criminal Justice