Man Arrested With Shrapnel-Covered Explosive Devices Near Los Angeles

Police in Southern California arrested 47-year-old Saleh Ali last week after two active Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were discovered in his vehicle that would “readily explode when exposed to flame.” They were found during a routine traffic stop for an expired registration, according to Brea Police Lt. Adam Hawley. 

The devices were “containers covered in shrapnel” which “contained explosive material.” 

Saleh Ali, 47, was arrested Tuesday when a Brea police officer pulled him over at about 9 p.m. for having an expired registration on his vehicle, and discovered homemade bombs.

“During the traffic stop, the officer keyed in on a couple of suspicious items in the car he believed to be an explosive device,” Hawley said of last Tuesday’s traffic stop. “He detained the driver out of an abundance of caution, locked down a little bit of the area and called out sheriff’s bomb squad deputies.”

The devices were destroyed on the scene, according to Hawley, who added that police also alerted the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center – a “coalition of federal, state and local law enforcement,” according to NBC Los Angeles

There is no evidence at this time tying Ali to a terrorist organization. 

Ali – who was arrested approximately 350 miles south of his home in Salinas, remains in jail on $200,000 bail. He appeared in a Santa Ana courtroom on Thursday where he pleaded not guilty to two charges of possession of a destructive device and single counts each of the sale and transportation of a destructive device, and intent to unlawfully make a destructive device, according to a press release by the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

Ali faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on the four felony charges. 

Circumstances of the Case

  • On Sept. 18, 2018, a Brea Police Department (BPD) officer conducted a traffic stop on Ali’s vehicle for expired registration tags.

  • Ali is accused of having a suspended driver license and BPD conducted an inventory search prior to the vehicle being towed.

  • During the inventory search, the defendant is accused of possessing two small destructive devices which were containers covered in shrapnel and contained explosive material in his vehicle.

  • BPD contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) Bomb Squad to examine the two devices.

  • Ali is accused of possessing Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s) or bombs, also referred to as destructive devices that would readily explode when introduced to a flame.

  • Ali was arrested at the scene.

Ali has two prior convictions in Passaic County, NJ for aggravated assault with serious bodily injury and terrorist threats according to court records, and will return to court on September 28 for a pretrial hearing.