A federal grand jury on Thursday handed down indictments against a Fort Benning sniper accused of stashing grenades in his Columbus apartment, and also charged the man's fiancée with lying to the FBI about the explosives.
Stuart L. Adcock, 23, of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, was charged with transporting a fragmentation grenade and lying to federal agents. Megan Wencel, who had not previously been charged, faces one count of making a false statement to a federal agent.
Adcock, who had been slated to deploy to Afghanistan the week he was charged, was jailed Jan. 20 after federal agents searched his apartment off Milgen Road. He was released Jan. 27 on $10,000 bond but must remain within his unit on Fort Benning until trial.
The charges sprang from a message the FBI received last month from Matthew D. Black, an estranged in-law of Adcock’s in Creedmoor, N.C., who claimed he had seen Adcock with a fragmentation grenade. In the message, which was sent to an FBI website, Black claimed Adcock also had blocks of C4 explosives and flashbang grenades in his apartment, according to court documents.
Adcock initially denied having explosives and agreed to a search of his apartment, authorities said.
As the agents were en route, Adcock phoned Wencel and allegedly asked her to conceal the explosives. Authorities did not find any explosives inside the Hampton Place apartment, but they later checked a wooded area where Wencel had been seen walking. They allegedly found a fragmentation grenade, two flashbang grenades and a military flare.
In addition to the explosives, federal agents said they were concerned by a cache of firearms they found in Adcock’s apartment. Adcock’s mother, with the help of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents, removed several rifles from the apartment last month. As a condition of Adcock’s bond, the weapons were to be sent back to North Carolina with his mother, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Hyles said.
Prosecutors said Adcock showed “a severe lack of judgment” by asking Wencel to place explosives in a public area in an apartment complex that houses about 500 people, including 150 children.