Joe Ryals, 41, faces 14 counts of possession of explosives requiring a license, a felony.
According to a release, someone called detectives after they found a package labeled “C-4 explosive” inside the former deputy’s home.
Detectives executed a search warrant at his residence on State Road 60 and recovered several firearms, military-grade explosives, firearm silences and found the following unauthorized military equipment: a 1.25lb block of C-4 explosive, a fully automatic rifle, and several firearm silencers.
The Army Criminal Investigations Division also came to the home and found:
- Military Radio Communication equipment
- A U.S. Army compass
- Flashlights, headlamps, helmet lights, personal medical kit
- Gear Bags
- Weapon Optics
- An electric light kit for landing zones
- AR bolts
- 14 Explosives including: Military Time Fuse, Military Ground Burst Simulator, Booby Trap flares, C-4, and a signal flare
- 27 firearms including: handguns, shotguns, AR style rifles, and 1 inline muzzle loader
Ryals was detained in Newton County, Mississippi where he was conducting K9 training for a local law enforcement agency.
According to officials, Ryals was a deputy sheriff with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office from August 2006 to March 2013. He previously worked as a law enforcement officer in Mississippi and Kentucky.
“Joel Ryals has a checkered law enforcement past, however, there is absolutely no reason for him to have this equipment. The military-grade explosives, materials to build bombs, and tactical equipment found in his possession are extremely dangerous. Although he posed no immediate threat to our community, he certainly could have used them for the wrong reasons,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.