A man accused of possessing large quantities of explosives in his North County home made his first federal court appearance on Monday.
An indictment filed Thursday against George Djura Jakubec, 54, charged that he knowingly made and possessed destructive devices, including nine detonators and 13 grenade hulls with unknown quantities of high explosives, including Hexamethylene Tiperoxide Diamine (HMTD), Pentaerythitol Tetranitrate and Erythritol Tetranitrate. Local charges were dismissed on Friday in light of the new federal charges.
The attorney for the North County man accused of stockpiling extremely dangerous explosives in his home said his client wants to "apologize" to everyone who will be inconvenienced by the planned burning of the house, which could happen as early as Wednesday.
At a hearing in federal court on Monday morning, Jakubec pleaded not guilty to eight counts of illegal manufacture and possession of destructive devices and bank robbery. He was first charged last month with similar crimes in state court, but last week his case was moved to the federal court system.
Jakubec appeared alert and aware of that was going on during his appearance this morning before a federal judge magistrate.
Outside the courthouse after the brief hearing, Jakubec's attorney, Michael Berg, said his client feels very bad about the disruption that will be caused when fire and haz-mat crews set fire to the home in what they say is the safest and most effective way to destroy those very powerful chemical explosives.
Berg also said his client is "depressed" that he and his wife will lose all their belongings when the house is burned to the ground by fire crews. Berg said Jakubec will be left "with only the clothes on his back."
Berg also said Jakubec's wife is not scared to go inside the house on Via Scott in Escondido and wants to get her clothes, pictures and other belongings.
The defense attorney indicated that the county sheriff's department has not responded to the woman's request. But Berg said that prosecutors have indicated they will try to find and remove from the home a list of "exculpatory" items that the defense says could help Jakubec fight the charges against him.
Law enforcement officials discovered what is believed to be the largest stockpile of highly-explosive material ever found on U.S. soil inside the home Jakubec rented at 1940 Via Scott.
The materials, specifically HMTD, are extremely sensitive to heat, friction and shock. A person can be seriously injured by less than a gram of the material and deputies removed eight to nine pounds of it from the property and fear there is a substantial amount left there.
Because of the risk to bomb technicians, officials plan to set fire to the home sometime this week -- possibly as early at Wednesday -- and have shared the plans with nearby residents who will either move their valuables out of the area or evacuate their homes during the operation.
According to court documents, Jakubec is also charged with three counts of bank robbery and one count of attempted bank robbery. He allegedly stole $43,012 from a Bank of America on East Ocean Air Drive in November of 2009.
About two weeks later he attempted to rob the same bank, according to the indictment. Jakubec is charged with carrying, brandishing and using a firearm during both the robbery and attempted robbery. Jakubec is also charged with robbing two other Bank of America branches on Scranton Road in June and Carmel Mountain Road in July.
He took approximately $54,000 in bank deposits by means of force, violence and intimidation during the three robberies combined, according to the indictment.
The bomb-making materials were discovered Nov. 18 after gardener Mario Garcia, 49, was injured while working in the back yard of the home on Via Scott in unincorporated Escondido. The father of three stepped on some gravel then heard a huge boom. Although he was badly burned on the left side of his body and was hospitalized at Palomar Medical Center, he is expected to make a full recovery.
Last week, crews cleared brush from around the home on Via Scott and erecting a protective wall -- 16-feet high and 75-feet long -- to protect a neighboring property when Jakubec's rented home burns to the ground.
Before the fire is ignited, the wall will be sprayed with a protective gel to help control flames, heat and embers. Experts said they believe that the flames will safely vaporize any explosives still inside that house. Even so, fire crews are preparing for a safe and quick burn.
The sheriff's department, which is supervising the burn project, said the weather must be clear and winds relatively still when they set fire to the bomb house.
"We're going to get the word out as soon as possible, asking, you know, for detours to surface streets, if you could stay off the freeway at all, please do," Caldwell said. "It will be to your benefit. And, hopefully, that will only be for an hour or two. That is our hope."