Feds Nab Felon with Underground Bunker Containing Guns, Explosives

James Wesley Bowden is a convicted felon. In ’98, he was convicted on felony charges related to burglary and theft of a firearm.

Yet, despite his checkered past, this known gun thief was able to amass what authorities are describing as an “arsenal” in an underground bunker in Snohomish County, Washington.

A picture of the bunker. (Photo: DOJ)

One can’t help but to state the obvious. That is, all the existing gun control measures on the books did not stop this lawbreaker from stockpiling not only firearms but “ammunition, grenades, silencers, ballistic armor, firearms accessories, and other equipment,” per the Dept. of Justice.

Bowden also modified two firearms to “shoot as fully automatic machine guns,” according to the arrest report.

SEE ALSO: Gun that fired the first shot at the Battle of Bunker Hill Sold for $492,000

This case underscores the severe limitations of gun control as a means to stop determined criminals.

As it turns out, policies that curtail the 2A rights of law-abiding citizens do not make criminals less dangerous nor do they prevent criminals from obtaining illegal arms.

More about the bust from the DOJ:

A 42-year-old Snohomish County man was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 42 months in prison for illegal possession of firearms and destructive devices, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. James Wesley Bowden was arrested in November 2021, following an altercation at his property on Burn Road.  Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene when Bowden threatened another man with a gun.  At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez, noted that Bowden’s drug addiction likely caused a substantial portion of his criminal conduct. According to records filed in the case, when law enforcement responded to the report of the altercation, they found a room set up in the garage that was much like a laboratory with various chemicals and equipment consistent with the manufacturing of homemade explosives.

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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  • Spud December 15, 2022, 12:05 am

    42 months for felon in possession, grenades and other explosives, and automatic weapons? I Remember when a felon in possession would land a guy 10 years, automatic. This guy will be out in 2 years…smh…

  • fedup December 14, 2022, 8:56 pm

    The story is over a year old. Slow news day? or is there something new to add?

    • S.H. Blannelberry December 15, 2022, 9:25 am

      The sentencing isn’t. That’s new. Click on the DOJ link.

  • Wild Bill December 14, 2022, 3:37 pm

    The locals convicted him; now what are the feds gonna do as he possessed hand grenades, fully-automatic firearms, etc.?

    • L.J. December 14, 2022, 6:34 pm

      Click on the DOJ press release and read. This was the Feds that sentenced him after he pleaded guilty.

  • Bob W December 14, 2022, 10:57 am

    Regulations will never make it impossible for a criminal or a nut to get a gun but it should make it as hard a possible for them to get one. Time to stop talking stupid. Sandy Hook 10 years and it only got worse. Pretty freaking sad.

  • JOSH December 9, 2022, 9:48 am

    This article was worthless!!!! A single pic of a hole in the ground, no pics of the bunker, guns, ammo, explosives or suppressors? No mention of how they found the bunker, what he had in there, etc. Why even bother? Was the purpose of this article to point out that a convicted felon still got an “arsenal”?

    • S.H. Blannelberry December 9, 2022, 10:34 am

      Yeah, that was the point. Gun control doesn’t work.

      I wish the DOJ had put out more pics cuz I too was curious to see the extent of his stockpile. They did have a pic of the suspect’s chem lab. If you click on the DOJ link you can see it.

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment December 9, 2022, 5:05 am

    only 42 months….who dick was he sucking?????

  • Don from CT December 8, 2022, 3:32 pm

    I wouldn’t necessarily jump to the conclusion that this guy is a scumbag “lawbreaker”.

    He had some trouble TWENTY FOUR years ago and it appears has been clean since then.

    I would suggest that he should have regained his right to possess firearms by now.

    So what is his latest “crime”. Possessing firearms. Nothing more. No theft. No violence.


    Don’t get distracted by their clever deception.

    I’m not saying this is all true. But it could be. From all we can tell this guy could have been a scumbag 20 year old who got is crap together after he got arrested and got clean off drugs. And now he’s 44 year old gun nut.

    Which is not illegal for most of us.

    • JRH December 9, 2022, 2:32 pm

      You obviously didn’t pay much attention to the article now, did you? Your bleeding heart social worker reply completely misses the critical point that this guy had Hand grenades, explosives AND had converted two guns to fully automatic ability. Plus, he had a laboratory with chemicals consistent with making explosives in the garage.
      Let’s assume the guy had a single run-in with the law 20 years prior and lost his 2A rights but some other bleeding heart liberal social worker, like you, gave him back his rights. It’s plainly evident he didn’t learn anything by his previous felony conviction because he clearly violated several laws by possessing explosive devices and manufacturing the same. PLUS, he converted NOT ONE, BUT TWO weapons into fully automatic ability, which is also illegal as it gets.
      The article does exactly what it purports to do. It clearly demonstrates that gun laws DO NOT prevent criminals from breaking gun laws. The ONLY thing gun laws do is hinder law-abiding Americans from exercising their 2A right. But, you already knew all of that anyway. You’re just trying to stir up a sthink.

  • Blue Dog (he/him) 🧢 December 8, 2022, 2:29 pm

    BURY HIM UNDER THE oh wait, nevermind.

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