A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging a Fort Polk soldier with 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 was charged with producing, possessing and using a chemical weapon in violation of federal law.
According to the indictment, Taylor manufactured and detonated a chemical weapon on April 12 in the Kisatchie National Forest. This 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 if convicted.
The FBI and U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis E. Robinson are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Fort Polk Public Affairs Office released a statement in April stating, “The Soldier allegedly burned an unknown substance in a military training area in the Kisatchie National Forest and fled the scene.
"The second incident occurred during a search of the Soldier’s vehicle on Fort Polk, when a commercially available substance, most commonly used as a disinfectant for swimming pools, was discovered. First responders, unaware of the properties of the substance, took precautionary measures and set up hazardous materials procedures around the vehicle in the parking lot of the Library and Education Center. Some responders underwent decontamination as a precaution and were later taken to Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital where they were medically evaluated and released.”