- Associated Press - Friday, July 22, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A man accused of storing stolen explosives, guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his Williston home is scheduled to stand trial this fall on five charges that could land him in federal prison for 50 years.

Attorneys for Tyler Porter earlier this month entered not guilty pleas on his behalf, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Miller scheduled a three-day trial to begin Aug. 1. The defense this week asked for more time to prepare, and U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland moved the trial to Oct. 4 in federal court in Bismarck.

Neil Fulton, head of the federal public defender’s office for the Dakotas, said no decision has been made on whether the defense might seek a plea agreement with prosecutors.

“We will investigate and discuss the case with (Porter) before making any decisions about how to proceed,” Fulton said.

Authorities allege Porter stole more than 200 explosives last spring from two companies operating in the western oil patch, using a cutting torch to open padlocked bunkers. They also allege he had books in his home on how to build explosives. An informant told a regional drug task force that Porter planned to sell the explosives for thousands of dollars, according to an affidavit filed by a special agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Porter was charged in May with four counts related to the theft and possession of explosives and prohibited weapons. A grand jury in June added a fifth count - increasing potential prison time if he’s convicted - and also called for Porter to forfeit a rifle, two pistols and ammunition if he’s found guilty.

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Follow Blake Nicholson on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/NicholsonBlake

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