US charges soldier in Louisiana chemical weapon case

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LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — A soldier faces a federal charge in connection with an April explosion that released chlorine gas in a forest next to his Army base in Louisiana, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Monday.

Ryan Keith Taylor, 24, faces a charge of "use of a chemical weapon," according to the indictment. Prosecutors said in a news release that Taylor made a weapon and detonated it in the Kisatchie National Forest near Fort Polk in western Louisiana in April.

Court records show the indictment was returned last week and that Taylor, who has not entered a plea in the case, is in federal custody. He also was indicted in September on a federal child pornography possession charge. He pleaded not guilty in that case. His attorney did not immediately return a call for comment.

At the time of the incident, the Army said the soldier was detained after other soldiers reported that he had burned an unknown substance in an area of the forest used for training.

A hazardous materials team checked his vehicle and found a swimming pool disinfectant. That led to the evacuation of an apartment complex in the nearby community of New Llano. Louisiana media reported at the time that an initial search of the complex found nothing but a second search led to discovery of a pipe bomb, which was safely detonated.

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