Crime

Men charged after Independence police stop truck full of guns, bomb

An Independence police officer followed a stolen truck to this gas station, where two people were arrested.
An Independence police officer followed a stolen truck to this gas station, where two people were arrested. Independence Police Department

Two men are facing federal charges after Independence police stopped a stolen pickup truck that contained guns, bullet-resistant vests and a homemade bomb.

The truck was equipped with a police-type light bar, and one of the men told police that he was an “enforcer” for a drug distribution organization, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City.

Ronald W. Sonich and Vincent A. Rice, both 36, are charged with being felons in possession of a firearm. Rice is also charged with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

The two were allegedly in a pickup truck early Saturday when an Independence officer on patrol recognized the truck as one reported as stolen that had been involved in a previous police pursuit, according to the documents.

The license plate on the truck was also reported stolen.

The officer followed the truck until it stopped at a gas station. There, he approached the vehicle and took two men into custody.

Inside the truck, officers found an explosive device constructed with an M-80, half of a stick of dynamite and a can of WD-40. It also contained lead fishing weights and fishing hooks, according to the documents.

Also recovered were two 9 mm handguns, one of which had been reported stolen, a .223-caliber rifle, body armor and about 25 grams of methamphetamine.

The truck had been reported stolen in Gentry County, Mo., and the license plate was stolen in Kansas City.

Rice later told investigators that he collected debts for a drug distribution organization and used the police lights to make people believe he was an officer. He said he pulled people over to collect debts owed to him or his “employer,” according to the allegations contained in the documents.

Both Rice and Sonich are convicted felons and cannot legally possess firearms, prosecutors said.

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc

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