Not too long ago, a friend who lives in Plano, Texas sent me a facebook post she thought I would be interested in seeing.

The post, made by Collin County Sheriff's Office based out of McKinney, Texas, detailed how a suspected pipe bomb had been spotted in a cemetery on December 14.

In this situation, the sheriff's office called in the Plano Police Department bomb squad, who were able to verify that it was indeed a pipe bomb--or an IED (improvised explosive device) as they like to call it. As per protocol, the bomb squad neutralized the device (which really translates to making sure all the neighbors are inside their homes and then detonating the explosive).

My first thought: Why bring a pipe bomb to a cemetery? Everyone is already dead.

My second thought: Geez, another pipe bomb?

Texas Pipe Bomb Incidents in 2023

See, the Collin county incident isn't the only time a pipe bomb appeared. In fact, there's been quite a few incidents that have happened in Texas this year.

On April 16, 2023 unknown individual placed a call to 911 and stated they had placed a pipe bomb in the state Capitol building in Austin, Texas. This prompted an emergency evacuation of the building and the Department of Public Safety conducted a sweep of the grounds--coming up empty-handed.

The puzzler though, is that the call was made on a Sunday, when no legislators were set to convene at the Capitol.

On April 17, 2023, federal agents descended on a home in Burleson, Texas. They arrested 22-year-old Noah Calderon on a federal charge of possession of a destructive device. During the search of Calderon's home, authorities found "a potentially volatile substance."

Noah Calderon, Burleson PD

Calderon had been monitored by federal agents after a tip alerted them to his social media posts, which displayed planning and preparation for a possible event of mass destruction. Calderon, according to a press release from the US District Attorney's office, apparently idolized the Columbine shooters and displayed hatred towards a protected class.

He was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison on November 3rd. Could it be that Calderon was the on who called in the threat to the Capitol building the day before his arrest? One can't help but wonder.

On August 9, 2023, an explosion was heard in the parking garage of St. David's Hospital in Austin, Texas. Investigators located the remnants of a pipe bomb in near a pickup truck registered to 38-year-old Raymond Luke Garner.

Raymond Luke Garner, Travis County
Raymond Luke Garner, Travis County

Garner was located and detained. But according to the statement from the US Attorney's office:

While he was detained by police, Garner contacted another individual to ask that person to move a box out of Garner's home. That box was later found to contain, among other things, a quantity of the high explosive, precursor chemicals, and electric matches. Searches at other locations revealed a recipe for the high explosive, remote control devices, and other components for destructive devices.

Garner pleaded guilty to a count of possession of an unregistered destructive device in October.

An Honorary Mention

While this pipe bomb-incident didn't take place in Texas, I do believe I can extend an honorary mention of a wild (and relevant) arrest of a in Arkansas man.

Lawrence Hickman, Benton County
Lawrence Hickman, Benton County

On December 13, 2023, 52-year-old Lawrence Hickman was picked up by authorities in Pacific County, Washington. He was attempting to flee the country by way of an inflatable kayak in order to evade an upcoming trial in Texas.

When authorities found Hickman, he had in his possession: an AR-style rifle, pistol, bolt-action rifle, compound bow, ammunition, bags of black powder, laptop, USB drive, and SD cards. Oh, and six pipe bombs.

Hickman was allegedly headed to the Philippines where his wife resided and planned to paddle his way through the Bering sea. Hickman had reportedly stated that "the pipe bombs were for sharks and pirates and he had liquor for the Russians."

The Biggest Drug Busts in Texas for 2023...So Far

While it's nowhere near the amount of busts made in 2021 and 2022, the year 2023 has been a busy one for Texas law enforcement. Take a look at just a few of the Lone Star state's biggest and most notable drug busts. We'll keep this updated throughout the year!

**Last updated: September 23, 2023

Gallery Credit: Sarah Clark/TSM

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