New River explosion: Property well-known to law enforcement

NEW RIVER, AZ - The piece of New River property where a man was injured Monday night is a familiar spot to law enforcement.

ABC15 was there, following ATF agents and Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputies in 1997 when property owner Chuck Byers came under federal investigation for illegally storing chemicals and explosives.

In the 1990s Byers was licensed to make munitions and eventually stored a very large amount on the property.

In 1997 the ATF took control of the property during a massive search for explosives and recovered stockpiles of various items.

At one point, the agency blew up a large cache of explosives on the property and eventually removed a large amount of chemicals and munitions.

As the investigation of the explosion Monday night unfolded, a former renter of the property had flashbacks of the massive investigation.

"Friends called to tell me that property was back in the news," said Renee Coltson. When asked if it sent chills down her spine, she answered, "well absolutely, and as you say that, it absolutely does."

Coltson rented space on the property from Byers in 1997.

To be clear, it's unknown at this point if the investigation from the '90s is connected to the current investigation being led by MCSO.

During her year lease, before the ATF instructed Coltson to leave, she said Byers gave her specific instructions regarding where she could go on the property, especially around the storage areas holding the explosives.

"Chuck Byers had written into the lease agreement that basically those (storage areas) were off limits," said Coltson.

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