IU student pleads not guilty to bomb-making charge

Ryder Pickens faces felony charge

BLOOMINGTON - An Indiana University student has pleaded not guilty to trying to make a bomb after investigators found dangerous chemicals and other materials in his apartment.

Last week, police said they got a call about dangerous chemicals, lab equipment and a hazmat suit seen in a downstairs basement of a home in the 400 block of East Varsity Lane in Bloomington.  Investigators also reported a computer found in the room displaying a website on how to make destructive devices.

After getting a search warrant, Bloomington Police said they found chemicals including nitric acid, ferric chloride and common house hold cleaners.  A man inside the home, identified as 20-year-old Ryder Pickens, admitted to owning the lab equipment and chemicals, but denied any attempts in making explosives.

A few days later, police got a second call about a package of suspicious materials delivered to Pickens' home. FBI agents confirmed with police that the materials included black iron oxide, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, potassium chlorate, strontium nitrate and barium nitrate.

FBI explosive experts confirmed the materials were enough to make an explosive device.

After thoroughly searching Pickens' computer, investigators found web pages for weapons of mass destruction, effects of sarin gas, Agent Blue and Agent Orange.

Pickens was taken into custody at the Monroe County Jail Wednesday night on a preliminary charge of attempting to manufacture an explosive device.

He was being held on $1 million bond. Officials said it was not clear if he had an attorney.

Bloomington Police Department Sgt. Joe Crider says Pickens has denied he was trying to make a bomb.

A motive in the case remains under investigation.

Pickens is a pre-informatics student from Danville and enrolled at IU for the spring term.

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