LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that a Fort Polk soldier pleaded guilty Monday to manufacturing and detonating a chemical weapon in the Kisatchie National Forest adjacent to the Fort Polk Army installation.
Ryan Keith Taylor, 24, of New Llano, Louisiana, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey to producing, possessing and using a chemical weapon in violation of federal law. According to the guilty plea, Taylor manufactured and detonated a chemical weapon on April 12, 2017 in the Kisatchie National Forest that resulted in the release of highly toxic chlorine gas into the atmosphere.
Taylor faces up to life in prison, five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The court set sentencing for September 12, 2018.
The FBI, U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command, Fort Polk Military Police and the Directorate of Emergency Services, Louisiana State Police, and the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. McCoy and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis E. Robinson are prosecuting the case.