A soldier based in California will not face charges when he shipped a used military anti-tank weapon home to Colorado Springs.
On Thursday, a mail carrier was delivering the wrapped package when it ripped open and a golf bag fell out. Inside the bag was an AT-4 shoulder-mount missile launcher. It was not armed.
When the postal employee saw it, he immediately called his supervisors at the post office at Montebello and Academy. They then called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Military officials say 30-year-old Chris Benson was sending things home to his mom in Colorado Springs, before deploying to the Middle East. That included the missile launcher, which had been used so it was considered "trash." Benson told investigators, he intended to make a lamp out of the equipment.
Still, the ATF takes this matter very seriously. "Right now were in very trying times in this country were finding a situation where we're investigating terrorist activity everyday, you know. It diverts from our normal function to look at one of our own," said Rich Marianos, ATF Agent-in-Charge.
Investigators discovered a second package Benson sent to Colorado Springs. After it was X-rayed by the bomb squad, it was determined that it only contained books and CDs. "Our biggest concern was that there was additional devices such as this or potentially explosive charges to arm this in that secondary package," said Marianos.
The AT-4 missile launcher has a range of a half a mile. When fired, a missile can cover 400 meters in 2 seconds. Military officials say it is considered a light anti-tank weapon that can take out a Bradley Tank.