National Security

U.S. Soldier Gets 11 Years for Using Chemical Weapon Near Army Base

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A U.S. soldier was sentenced to 11 years in prison for detonating a chemical weapon near an army base in Louisiana that injured two fellow soldiers and ended their military careers.

Ryan Taylor, 24, was sentenced for manufacturing, possessing, and detonating a chemical weapon next to the Fort Polk Army installation, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Monday night.

Taylor pleaded guilty in June for detonating the explosive device which contained chlorine gas. Three soldiers who were conducting a training exercise nearby heard the explosion and found Taylor using his cell phone to film the explosion, according to prosecutors.

"Taylor produced and detonated a chemical bomb near Fort Polk, causing injury to his fellow soldiers who responded to and investigated the incident," said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.

Fort Polk military police investigating the site of the explosion were injured when inhaling the gas, and the explosive materials even melted an investigator's gloves and boots. One soldier had difficulty breathing and his skin started burning, the DOJ said.

Two of the victims who inhaled the gas were treated multiple times and their injuries forced them to end their military careers.

A search of Taylor's vehicle and apartment found remnants of the explosive device, chlorine residue, and bomb-making notes.

"Supporting and protecting our soldiers is of utmost importance to my office," said U.S. Attorney David Joseph. "Those serving our country put their lives on the line daily to protect us. They should not be put in danger needlessly."

According to Joseph, the chemical used by Taylor has been banned because of its harmful effects.

"The chemical weapon the defendant created in this case is banned under international and national laws because of its terrible effects on the human body," said Joseph. "I want to thank our U.S. military, federal and local law enforcement for their combined effort investigating this case and bringing this defendant to justice."

Taylor's 11-year prison sentence will be followed by five years of supervised release.