- Associated Press - Thursday, April 26, 2018

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The inventory control officer for a one-time contractor would repay about 1 percent of the $8.7 million cost of an Army contract to take apart charges of M6 artillery propellant in Louisiana, under a plea agreement reached this week.

If the judge agrees to recommendations from prosecutors, Lionel Koons would repay nearly $93,000 of the total paid to Explo Systems Inc. before the company went bankrupt in 2013, leaving 7,800 tons (7,000 metric tons) of potentially explosive propellant at Camp Minden.

Koons pleaded guilty Tuesday to making false statements, one of the 31 counts against him.

The court posted details online Thursday.

Explo’s problems came to light after 21 tons (19 metric tons) of M6 and 62 tons (56 metric tons) of smokeless powder exploded in October 2012, rattling windows 4 miles (6 kilometers) away.

About six weeks later, state police brought a search warrant and ordered a halt to further shipments, saying Explo had nowhere to store any more M6.

Koons sent the Army Contracting Command an email saying state police and federal agents were making an annual audit, and “are not allowing us to receive until the audit/inspection is completed.”

The plea agreement said Koons knew that was a lie.

The maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Koons has agreed to testify against five co-defendants, including co-owner David Fincher of Burns, Tennessee.

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote has set aside all of June for that trial, starting Monday, June 4.

She scheduled Koons‘ sentencing Aug. 30.

Company co-owner David Alan Smith of Winchester, Kentucky, pleaded guilty in December to one count each of conspiracy and making false statements. His sentencing is scheduled July 31.

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