Suspected Escondido bomb maker pleads guilty to robbery - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Suspected Escondido bomb maker pleads guilty to robbery

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who manufactured bombs and stored large amounts of explosives in his rented home in North County, which had to be destroyed, pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges that could land him in prison for up to three decades.

George Djura Jakubec, 54, was arrested on Nov. 18 after a landscaper was seriously injured by stepping on some stones outside the home, detonating some volatile chemicals.

The cache of compounds possessed by Jakubec included substances used by suicide bombers and the so-called underwear and shoe bombers, authorities have said.

A state prosecutor who handled the case before it was turned over to federal authorities described the cache as the "largest quantity of these types of homemade explosives ever found at one place in the United States."

Deputy District Attorney Terri Perez said Jakubec turned the rental home in unincorporated Escondido into a "bomb factory."

The discovery of the stockpile prompted then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare the San Diego region a disaster area. Likewise, the county Board of Supervisors ratified a local emergency declaration over the dicey situation.

After weighing the risks posed by the explosive chemicals, sheriff's officials decided that burning down the house was the only reasonably safe way to dispose of the hazardous substances.

On the morning of the Dec. 9 controlled burn, deputies closed roads in the neighborhood and evacuated dozens of surrounding residences before a bomb squad remotely ignited the condemned home via a series of charges placed throughout it.

The resulting blaze reduced the house to a pile of smoldering rubble within about 90 minutes. Over the subsequent several weeks, environmental health personnel had to complete an exhaustive soil cleanup on the parcel where the contaminated home had stood.   

The defendant, who entered his plea to federal charges of carrying a firearm during a bank robbery and attempted bank robbery, faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced June 13 by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns.

The judge reviewed Jakubec's plea agreement with him, in which the defendant pleaded guilty to two charges of carrying a firearm into a bank robbery.

In a statement of facts, the defendant also admitted making nine detonators, 13 grenade hulls and 22 other destructive devices and storing them at the home.

"Did you make these bombs?" the judge asked Jakubec.

After hesitating, the defendant answered "yes," but said devices were explosives, not necessarily bombs.

Investigators and attorneys have disclosed no motive for the defendant's bomb-making activities at the house he shared with his wife.

"Jakubec will be held accountable for his actions and placing the community of Escondido at risk," said John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge for ATF in Los Angeles. "Every agency involved in this investigation worked together to ensure that Jakubec does not place anyone else in danger now or in the future."

Jakubec admitted being armed with a loaded firearm when he robbed a Bank of America in San Diego of $43,000 on Nov. 13, 2009. He also pleaded guilty to being armed and going into the same bank two weeks later and trying to rob the financial institution, but leaving when he saw a security guard.

As part of his plea, Jakubec also admitted robbing a Bank of America on Scranton Road in San Diego of $1,480 on June 25, 2010, and stealing $10,400 from another BofA branch on Carmel Mountain Road last July 17.

Jakubec will have to repay the county of San Diego $541,000 for the cost of burning down the rental house and making the area safe before it was set on fire, the judge told him.

Defense attorney Michael Berg said outside court that Jakubec felt vindicated because he didn't have to plead guilty to charges relating to the unlawful manufacture of possession of destructive devices.

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