TAMPA (FOX 13) - The west Tampa man arrested after law enforcement said they found pipe bombs, smoke grenades and tear gas in his home - told detectives he was unhappy with the government and was part of a militia called the United States Patriot Army in St. Petersburg.
A business associate's discovery
According to the affidavit, it all began when Kenneth Ray O'Neill, II discovered what he thought were pipe bombs in his business associate's home.
O'Neill said he is both professionally and personally involved with Ramos. The two founded Patriot Armor, Inc., a company that manufactures body armor and sells it to, among others, law enforcement officers and firefighters. Ramos is the president of the company.
Detectives said O'Neill went to Ramos' home around January 16. That's when he saw a shoe-box-sized wooden crate in Ramos' bedroom holding four or six pipe bombs. O'Neill said he thought the bombs were made with 1.25 inch PVC pipe with green fuses.
Note: O'Neill has a prior felony conviction for transfer of destructive devices, specifically pipe bombs, in 2002. Law enforcement noted in the affidavit he completed his sentence and did not receive funds or consideration for a reduction in sentence for the information he provided regarding Ramos.
O'Neill said he asked Ramos about the devices and Ramos confirmed they were bombs he made himself. He also said he used his girlfriend's credit cart to buy the materials from Amazon.com.
Ramos said he made the "black powder" filler with supplies and chemicals purchased from Amazon.com, then added "bird shot" to the powder. Written in the affidavit, Ramos said "it would kill the neighbors if one of the bombs went off."
Ramos told O'Neill he used black powder instead of "flash powder" because flash powder was instable. When asked why he had the bombs, Ramos told O'Neill "if [expletive] hits the fan, you never know if you might need it."
The next day, Kenneth O'Neill and his brother, Ryan O'Neill - who the affidavit noted is an officer of Patriot Arms, Inc., former Marine and has no prior convictions - went to Ramos' house to tell him to get rid of the pipe bombs. The O'Neills also said they intended to eject Ramos from their company.
After saying they would call law enforcement, the O'Neills said Ramos became aggressive and said, what the affidavits referred to as, "something like 'so you're going to put me in jail?'"
Kenneth O'Neill said, at that point, he became afraid of Ramos, who was standing next to an AK-47 assault-style rifle.
Kenneth said he and his brother calmed Ramos, reassuring him everything would be okay. They did not discuss removing Ramos from the company during the conversation.
Involving the authorities
Kenneth did contact law enforcement.
On January 31, Kenneth called Ramos and detectives listened in. During the call, O'Neill told Ramos he needed to get rid of the "boom booms." Ramos agreed, but said he didn't know how and was scared to dispose of them.
O'Neill told Ramos to secure or hide them.
On February 1, search warrants were executed at Ramos' home. Agenst said they found eight pipe bombs and what were believed to be smoke grenades and tear gas. They also found AK-47 semi-automatic rifle, one .45 caliber pistol and a large amounts of ammunition.
Ramos was arrested.
Ramos' side, according to law enforcement
After his arrest, Ramos admitted to making a number of pipe bombs and identified websites he used as reference in making them. He told detectives he bought fuses from Phantom Fireworks, PVC pipe from Home Depot, and other bomb-making materials from Amazon.com.
He also admitted to having tear gas, which he bought from keepshooting.com, and smoke grenades at his house.
Ramos continued, saying he recently sold a Mossberg, pump action shotgun with a shortened barrel, which he purchased at a Walmart in Lakeland.
Ramos told detectives in a written statement he manufactured eight black-powder-based pipe bombs for "preparedness/protective" reasons. He also wrote he never had intentions of harming anyone with the bombs.
Reaction to the discovery
Meanwhile, those who know Ramos were trying to process the news of his arrest and what law enforcement said they found in his home.
"My reaction is very shocked, honestly. That guy is a very nice guy," Ramos' landlord Marisa told FOX 13 News. "It's very nice guy, I don't know their private life, you know what I mean?"
Ramos' girlfriend came to the home Monday to collect her belongings. She did not have a comment.
ATF agents on the scene told FOX 13 News they were glad someone was willing to come forward.
"We really appreciate the fact that someone from the public took the time to call, and alert us that somebody was in possession of pipe bombs," ATF agent David Brown said. "Had one of them gone off, anybody within a fifty foot radius would have either been seriously hurt or killed."
The affidavit recommended Ramos face charges related to the illegal transfer of a firearm and making a firearm. Law enforcement did not say Monday evening if Ramos had been officially charged.