The Sequatchie County Sheriff's Office and members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, Chattanooga Police Department Bomb Squad and the 12th Judicial Drug Task Force served a search warrant Tuesday that turned up a gun, drug paraphernalia and what authorities identified as black explosive powder and a pipe bomb.
During a search at a home on Quail Lane in Sequatchie County's Deer Head community on the Cumberland Plateau about 5 miles west of Dunlap, Tennessee, authorities allegedly found a loaded .380 pistol, several used needles, scales and several pills inside the home of Thomas D. Painter. Sequatchie officials said Painter is a violent convicted felon who is not permitted to own or possess a firearm, according to a news release from the agency issued late Tuesday.
Searching the rest of the property, black powder and the suspected pipe bomb were found inside an outbuilding by detectives, the release states. The device had a fuse attached.
The suspected explosive components were found inside a camouflage backpack and the pills found were identified as the prescription drug hydroxyzine, according to the affidavit of complaint filed Tuesday by Detective Clifford Camp in Sequatchie County General Sessions Court. Hydroxyzine is used to treat skin allergies, relieve tension as a sedative and can cause drowsiness, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine's website.
The Chattanooga Bomb Squad took the device from the scene for disposal, authorities said.
Painter is charged with possession of explosives components, unlawful possession of a prohibited weapon, unlawful possession of a prohibited weapon by a felon, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of legend drugs, court records show. The investigation is ongoing, authorities said.
Painter faces a tentative arraignment in General Sessions Court on Dec. 4, Court Clerk Karen Millsaps said. He does not yet have an attorney on record, Millsaps said.
Painter does not yet have a bond, according to officials at the Sequatchie County Jail, but officials said one could be set at next week's arraignment.
Contact Ben Benton at email@example.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.