ANDERSON, SC (WCBD) – An upstate man has been sentenced to more than 30 years in federal prison for using weapons of mass destruction.
In a press release from U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon, it was reported that 27-year-old Wesley Dallas Ayers of Anderson County placed explosive devices, weaponized with shrapnel, around various parts of the county.
U.S. District Judge, Henry Herlong Jr. sentenced Ayers to 361 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release for using, attempting to use and threatening to use weapons of mass destruction, possession, and discharge of a firearm, and use of an explosive device during the commission of a felony.
Ayers had previously admitted that he constructed, and then placed, three explosive devices in various parts of Anderson County between January 24, 2018, and February 24, 2018.
A device placed by Ayers on January 30th at the intersection of Travis and Martin Roads in Anderson County detonated and injured one individual.
Two other devised, which Ayers also placed in or near roadways, were intercepted and rendered safe by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
In the same timeframe, Ayers placed three hoax devices, which resembled explosives but did not contain any blasting agent. With some of those devices, he left threatening messages that more, and more powerful devices were to come.
Ayers was arrested after an exhaustive month-long investigation with the combined efforts of the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and numerous law enforcement agencies from around the state.
DNA and other forensic evidence connected Ayers with the devices.
Additionally, a search of his property produced numerous items consistent with the manufacture of the explosive devices, the release said.
During sentencing, Judge Herlong found that the dangerous and lethal nature of the devices, weaponized with shrapnel, concealed in household items and publicly placed in or near roadways justified the substantial sentence.
He emphasized the length of Ayer’s campaign against the citizens of Anderson County for more than a month’s time and that only by the efforts of law enforcement and sheer good fortune were more individuals not seriously harmed or killed.