EASTHAMPTON — A multi-agency investigation of explosions by Lower Mill Pond on the night of the Super Bowl led to an arrest Thursday as a large amount of explosives and materials were found in a rented suite at the Brickyard mill building on Pleasant Street, police said.
Bryan O. Desmarais, 41, of 36 Ridgewood Terrace, was arrested on charges of possession of ammunition without a firearms owner identification card, possession or control of incendiary device or material, possession of explosives or destructive devices, and throwing, placing or exploding explosives.
At noon Thursday, the Easthampton Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Massachusetts State Police executed a search warrant at 142 Pleasant St. Suite 104A, the space of Bustin’ Bass Baits, which sells fishing lure online.
Police said investigators discovered a large quantity of materials used for the manufacturing of explosives, manufactured explosives, ammunition and other illegal contraband.
Due to the explosive materials found during the search, the FBI’s Springfield office, State Police Bomb Squad, Crime Scene Unit and Fire Marshal’s Office, FBI and ATF special agent bomb technicians, District 4 Hazmat Team and Easthampton Fire Department responded to the scene.
The Northwestern district attorney’s office and the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield are also assisting in the ongoing investigation.
On Feb. 5, Easthampton police received reports of multiple explosions off Pleasant Street near Lower Mill Pond. Police found detonated explosive devices as well as unexploded ones on the southerly bank of the pond.
“From that, detectives started launching an investigation,” police Lt. William Kelly said.
During Thursday’s operation, Kelly said surrounding businesses and rented space were evacuated. Sonelab, a music production studio down the hall at Suite 102C, remained open and Abandoned Building Brewery at Suite 103A opened at its normal time at 5 p.m.
“I had no idea what exactly was going on down the hall,” Sonelab owner Justin Pizzoferrato said. “Every time I’d walk down the hallway, I’d see lots of activity, tarped-off section of the building, and dozens of police and emergency vehicles in the parking lot.”
Officials were on scene throughout the afternoon and into the night. Police said the investigation is ongoing and addition charges may be forthcoming. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Easthampton Police Department at (413) 527-1212.
Caitlin Ashworth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.