Man Charged With Attempting to Blow a Confederate Statue to Smithereens

A Houston Police car can be seen in the neighborhood where the home was searched by the FBI on Sunday

Authorities in Houston have charged a 25-year-old man with trying to blow up a Confederate statue, federal prosecutors say, in the latest development amid demonstrations and fierce debate about race and the legacy of America's Civil War. Andrew Cecil Schneck tried to drink the liquid explosives when he was approached by officers, the police said.

Schneck had been arrested in 2014 on a charge of improperly storing explosive materials at his Houston home.

Philip Hilder, Schneck's attorney, declined to comment on Monday. Nitroglycerin is highly risky to transport or use. ln its undiluted form, it is one of the world's most powerful explosives. His family paid $159,000 to law enforcement agencies as restitution.

Authorities allege that Schneck was caught with a plastic bottle with what is likely nitroglycerin, an active ingredient in the manufacture of explosives, and with a small aluminum tube that contained a white powder that tests showed was hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, which is used as an initiating or primary explosive. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Scheck had been conducting "chemistry experiments" inside his parents' $2.1 million home.

Schneck had more than vandalism in mind Saturday night, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Patrick Hutchison. CNN reported that the ranger supposedly eyed a timer and wires near Schneck. Police asked Schneck why he wanted to harm the statue and he answered he did not "like that guy", the complaint states.

Vehicles from the FBI, Houston Police Department, and Houston Fire Department were present by the 2000 block of Albans Road, where a single house at 2025 Albans was raided Monday morning.

Authorities said residents in the area of Shepherd Drive and Bissonnett Street might have heard loud noises as crews worked to dispose of hazardous materials using controlled detonations. The filing, which said that Schneck had matured and was "no longer concentrated on high-risk activities", also stated that federal authorities were "not opposed" to ending his supervised release early. A federal judge let him off probation early, after just two years and two months. That included a ban on coming in contact with explosive materials.

Schneck's next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

If convicted, Schneck faces up to 40 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

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