After officials discover a bunker containing explosive chemicals and illegal guns, a WA man is sentenced to more than three years in prison

Washington man James Bowden was sentenced to more than three years in prison for unlawfully possessing firearms, ammunition, explosive chemicals and more.

After being found with illegal weapons and explosives in a bunker located in the Arlington northeast Everett, a man was sentenced Friday to more than three decades in federal prison.

According to court documents, James Bowden (now 42) confronted a man riding in a car. The two had a heated argument before Bowden shot a gun into the windshield of the car, hitting the hand of the man, The Herald reported.

Federal investigators discovered a room in Bowden’s detached garage filled with explosives-making equipment and chemicals. Prosecutors said that a photo showed shelves containing chemicals, a gas mask, and the words “The Laboratory” in neon green paint.


Prosecutors said that a removable panel on the floor contained a ladder leading to a bunker containing guns, ammunition and other equipment. Prosecutors said bomb technicians spent hours setting off the explosives.

Bowden was barred from the possession of weapons after he was convicted of felony theft and burglary in 1999.


James Bowden was convicted in 1999 of possessing weapons. He pleaded guilty to the charges in May.

Bowden pleaded guilty in May to unlawful possession, possession of machine guns, and possession with intent to cause harm in U.S. District Court, Seattle. Other charges were dropped by federal prosecutors.

Snohomish County prosecutors dropped the assault charge against Bowden in connection with the shooting.

Bowden worked as an iron worker before he was hurt and began using drugs. He wrote this letter to Ricardo Martinez, U.S. District Court Judge.

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Bowden wrote that he was an honest man, who had been an Iron Worker for twenty years, who is active in the community and who loves his children dearly. “But most importantly, Bowden said that he could learn from his folly as well as from being wronged.”

Martinez sentenced Bowden for 42 months. This was below the guidelines because Martinez noted that drugs probably played a part in Bowden’s crimes.

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