While an Ontario man who allegedly showed no ID to buy a trailerload of ammonium nitrate fertilizer “posed no apparent threat,” the public threat from such products needs public funding to manage at the retail level, according to a national dealers’ group.
Two days after a police search located the man in question, the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers (CAAR) restated its previous call for federal funding to help upgrade physical security at ag retail sites, to manage the risk of “malicious diversion.”
“Regardless of the outcome, this incident should remind us to remain vigilant knowing that potential threats do exist and that terrorists will persist in trying to acquire what are normally benign agricultural products and misuse them for destructive purposes,” CAAR CEO David MacKay said in a release June 11.
The “incident” involved the May 26 cash purchase of a large amount of ammonium nitrate from the Vineland Growers Co-op outlet at Jordan Station, about 30 km northwest of Niagara Falls.
No identification was obtained at point of sale from the man, RCMP said, nor was a plate number recorded for the minivan he used to tow the trailer.
The man contacted police later in the day on June 9, RCMP said, after his description and sketches had been broadcast through regional and national media.
Media interest in the case was spurred by its timing, just days ahead of international dignitaries and world leaders arriving in southern Ontario for separate meetings of the G-8 and G-20.
Ammonium nitrate’s known use in improvised explosives had already led the federal government in June 2008 to add new regulations on the sale of the product.