Fort Polk soldier pleads guilty to detonating a chemical weapon, faces life in prison

Army soldier Ryan Keith Taylor. (Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office)

United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that a Fort Polk soldier pleaded guilty Monday to manufacturing and detonating a chemical weapon in the Kisatchie National Forest, adjacent to the Fort Polk Army installation.

Ryan Keith Taylor, 24, of New Llano, Louisiana, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey to producing, possessing and using a chemical weapon in violation of federal law. According to the guilty plea, Taylor manufactured and detonated a chemical weapon on April 12, 2017, in the Kisatchie National Forest, that resulted in the release of highly toxic chlorine gas into the atmosphere.

He was arrested in April of last year after the Louisiana State Police HazMat team located suspicious devices and ordinances in his apartment in New Llano. He was originally detained by Army officials after he fled the scene following the burning of an unknown substance in a military training area of Kisatchie National Forest.

Taylor faces up to life in prison, five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The court set sentencing for September 12, 2018.

The FBI, U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command, Fort Polk Military Police and the Directorate of Emergency Services, Louisiana State Police, and the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. McCoy and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis E. Robinson are prosecuting the case.

Source: US Attorney’s Office Western District of La

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