A Boston police officer was arrested and charged after his wife called police to report that she found military-grade explosives, grenades, and ammunition in their home.
Police Officer Kirk D. Merricks, 43, is now facing 11 counts of possession of an explosive device, four counts of obtaining stolen property and one count of illegal possession of ammunition. A bomb squad was called in to remove the explosives from the residence on the night of July 11.
“We requested the assistance of the Mass State Police Bomb Squad, as well as the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives], and we sought a search warrant after we secured those devices that we did locate—some were in the house and some were in a shed in the backyard,” Plymouth Chief Michael Botieri told WATV.
A police report states that Merricks’ wife and son discovered the explosives when they were going through the officer’s belongings. After calling Plymouth police around 3 p.m. Thursday, the officer’s wife led them to a shed containing military-grade explosives. A metal box contained four explosive sticks wrapped in military-style cloth and marked as ”TNT”.
A black briefcase contained four 40 mm grenades that are normally used with an M203 grenade launcher – a device that the US military introduced in the early 1970s. M203 grenade launchers are categorized as “Destructive Devices” under the National Firearms Act and are rarely available on the civilian weapons market.
Officers also found a detonation cord, blasting caps, and military-grade ammunition.
Chief Botieri told reporters that investigators believe the items were stolen, since they are generally not available for civilian purchase. Although Merricks is licensed to carry firearms, none of the explosives or military-grade ammunition were issued to him by police.
“They are obviously not anything that civilians should possess,” Botieri told the Boston Globe. “We believe it’s all stolen. It’s not something you can go out and buy without the correct permits.”
Merricks was on duty while his home was being searched, and was arrested shortly thereafter. He has been placed on paid administrative leave and stripped of his handgun and badge.
After pleading not guilty to his charges on Friday morning, he was freed on $1,000 bail.
Botieri is a 14-year veteran of the Boston Police Department who previously served with the Marine Corps during Desert Storm. Police were called to his home during a domestic dispute last month. Merricks’ wife says the couple separated on June 4, when she filed a restraining order against him, accusing him of verbal abuse.
Eric Goldman, the attorney representing Merrick, said his client had not been living in the house for three months, and suggested that the “contentious” divorce proceedings may have something to do with the woman’s call to police.
Police have launched an investigation into the incident.