Amarillo Man Sentenced to 11+ Years in Prison for Use of WMD

Amarillo man sentenced to 11+ years in prison for using a WMD. Learn about the case, judge's ruling, public safety concerns, and law enforcement response.

In a recent case, an Amarillo man has been sentenced to over 11 years in federal prison for using a weapon of mass destruction (WMD). Erfan Salmanzadeh, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Iran, set off a bomb in his backyard, stored a suicide vest in his alleyway, and planned to target a local high school. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, who underscored the severity of Salmanzadeh’s actions. This case serves as a reminder of the constant vigilance needed to protect communities from potential threats and the importance of reporting suspicious behavior to law enforcement.

Title: Amarillo Man Sentenced to 11+ Years in Prison for Use of WMD


Erfan Salmanzadeh, a 34-year-old Amarillo man, has recently been sentenced to over 11 years in federal prison for his involvement in the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Salmanzadeh’s criminal activities, charges and indictment, as well as his plea and subsequent sentencing, have raised concerns about public safety and prompted a strong law enforcement response.

The Sentence

Salmanzadeh has been sentenced to 135 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk for his use and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. This sentence reflects the seriousness of his crime and the potential harm it could have caused.

U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk’s Ruling

Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling on Salmanzadeh’s case sends a clear message that such acts will not be tolerated. By imposing a substantial sentence, he ensures that Salmanzadeh will face the consequences of his actions and be removed from society for an extended period of time.

Public Safety Concerns

Salmanzadeh’s criminal activities posed significant risks to the neighborhood where he resided. By storing explosive materials in his home, he put not only himself but also his neighbors in grave danger. The potential for a catastrophic explosion was very real, and it is fortunate that law enforcement intervened before any harm was done.

Threats to Local High School

One of the most alarming aspects of Salmanzadeh’s case is his plot to blow up a local high school. As revealed in a video he recorded, Salmanzadeh made explicit threats, displaying a nail bomb, a suicide vest, and other explosive devices. This posed an immediate threat to the safety and well-being of the students, faculty, and staff at the high school. Thankfully, law enforcement was able to prevent this violent attack from occurring.

Law Enforcement Response

The investigation into Salmanzadeh’s criminal activities was a collaborative effort between various law enforcement agencies. Partnerships with the Amarillo Police Department, the North Texas Joint Terrorism Taskforce, Homeland Security Investigations, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Randall County Sheriff’s Office, and the Amarillo Fire Department were crucial in ensuring a comprehensive and coordinated response.

Acknowledgment from FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Chad Yarbrough

FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Chad Yarbrough expressed gratitude towards the law enforcement agencies involved in Salmanzadeh’s case. He acknowledged their swift action and the intervention that prevented a violent attack. Yarbrough also urged the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement to ensure the ongoing safety of the community.

Explosive Materials Used

Salmanzadeh utilized a highly dangerous explosive material known as triacetone triperoxide (TATP). This substance is notoriously unstable and can cause significant damage when detonated. Salmanzadeh conducted test explosions in his backyard and admitted to using homemade TATP to blow up an Xbox, demonstrating his intent to cause harm.

Use of Homemade TATP in Yard Explosion

Salmanzadeh’s use of homemade TATP in an explosion in his yard showcases his reckless disregard for the safety of those around him. The blast not only put his own life at risk but also endangered the lives of his neighbors. The use of such volatile materials highlights the seriousness of Salmanzadeh’s criminal intent.

Discovery of TATP Residue in Bathroom and PVC Pipe

During the investigation, law enforcement discovered TATP residue in Salmanzadeh’s bathroom, indicating his involvement in the production and handling of these explosive materials. Additionally, TATP residue was found on a PVC pipe hidden in his bedroom closet, further emphasizing his intent to utilize these materials to cause destruction.

Safeguarding the Community

The discovery of a suicide vest and a nail bomb in a dumpster near Salmanzadeh’s residence underscores the urgency of safeguarding the community from his potential acts of violence. These devices had the potential to cause significant harm and loss of life. Law enforcement’s diligent efforts ensured the removal of these dangerous weapons from circulation.

Review of Electronic Devices

As part of the investigation, law enforcement reviewed Salmanzadeh’s electronic devices. This review uncovered a video recorded by Salmanzadeh himself, in which he threatened to blow up a local high school. The video displayed various explosives, demonstrating his intent to carry out a violent attack. The examination of his electronic devices provided crucial evidence of his criminal planning.

Extensive Preparations

Salmanzadeh’s extensive preparations for carrying out acts of violence are deeply troubling. The discovery of his threatening video, as well as his possession of a suicide vest, a nail bomb, and other explosives, suggests that he had devoted significant time and effort to plan and execute destructive actions.

Threatening Video Recorded by Mr. Salmanzadeh

Salmanzadeh’s threatening video, recorded in Farsi, sent a chilling message. His clear intent to “blast the school” and the visual representation of the explosive devices he possessed highlighted the seriousness of his plans. The existence of this video further demonstrated his commitment to carrying out acts of violence.

Test Explosions and Journals Found in Investigation

The investigation into Salmanzadeh’s activities revealed that he had conducted test explosions. These test detonations were likely carried out to assess the effectiveness and impact of his homemade explosives. Moreover, his possession of journals containing notes and formulas related to the production of explosives indicates his deep involvement in planning and preparing for violent acts.

Online Research and Purchases

Salmanzadeh extensively used the internet to conduct research on constructing TATP and weapons of mass destruction. The internet provided him with the necessary information to develop dangerous and destructive devices. Additionally, Salmanzadeh purchased a plane ticket to California to avoid detection by law enforcement after a bombing, highlighting his intent to evade capture.

Use of Internet for Constructing TATP and WMD

Salmanzadeh’s use of the internet to gather information and construct explosive materials and weapons of mass destruction is a stark reminder of the dangers posed by online platforms. The accessibility of such information underscores the need for increased vigilance in monitoring and tracking individuals who utilize the internet for criminal purposes.

Plane Ticket Purchase to Avoid Detection

Salmanzadeh’s purchase of a plane ticket to California demonstrated his awareness of impending law enforcement intervention. By attempting to leave the area swiftly, he hoped to evade capture and further carry out his violent plans. This action underscores the necessity of timely intervention by law enforcement to prevent potential harm.


The sentencing of Erfan Salmanzadeh to over 11 years in federal prison for his involvement in the use of weapons of mass destruction highlights the severity of his crimes and the threat he posed to public safety. The collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies, coupled with the discovery and intervention, ensured the apprehension and removal of a dangerous individual from the community. This case serves as a reminder of the importance of vigilance, community engagement, and prompt reporting in safeguarding against potential acts of violence.