G20 security scare turns out to be a crock of fertilizer

G20 security scare turns out to be a crock of fertilizer

Fertilizer actually used as fertilizer (Image: Michael Spiller)

Canada was on the brink of having its very own supervillain yesterday, as police appealed to the public in their search for an unidentified man who purchased a massive quantity of ammonium nitrate. The chemical is traditionally used as fertilizer but can also be used in the production of bombs, and in light of the impending G20, police weren’t taking any chances. The mystery man even had all the markings of a James Bond–worthy mastermind: missing fingers, limp, accent.

Vendors are required to ask for government-issued identification from anyone seeking to purchase fertilizer like ammonium nitrate. Those rules weren’t followed when the man purchased nearly a tonne of the stuff at a store in Lincoln, Ontario. Staff took his word that he was representing a regular customer, so off he went with an amount of ammonium nitrate comparable to what terrorists used in the Oklahoma City bombing. After he left, staff apparently became suspicious of the transaction, and some of them independently alerted the office of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

By late Wednesday, the man had contacted police after his sketch appeared on news Web sites and on TV. It was concluded, in appropriate police lingo, that the fertilizer wasn’t purchased in relation to G20, but in relation to “a gardening incident,” as one officer told the Star, and that charges probably won’t be laid.

We suppose it would have been too anticlimactic to simply say that the fertilizer was going to be used as fertilizer.

Recovered fertilizer quashes G20 bomb fears [Toronto Star]
Fertilizer bomb threat a mere ‘gardening incident’ [Globe and Mail]