Toronto

Father, son charged after explosive materials found inside home in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Police north of Toronto have charged a father and son after officers found explosive materials and a detonator device at a home in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Federal government says there's no known connection to national security

York Regional Police have charged two men after hazardous, explosive materials were found in a Richmond Hill, Ont., home on Friday. (Chris Glover/CBC)

Police north of Toronto have charged a father and son after officers found explosive materials and a detonator device at a home in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Reza Mohammadiasl, 47, and his son Mahyar, 18, were arrested on Monday and charged with one count each of possession of an explosive device following a search of their home. Both men were scheduled to appear in Newmarket court on Tuesday. 

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the arrests and charges are a local matter that concerns York police and there is no known connection to national security.

"There is no known connection to any issue related to national security," he said in Ottawa. "It is a local policing matter. Obviously they've made arrests, they've laid charges, and it's up to them to comment further."

Border agents tipped off police 

York Regional Police said the investigation began last Thursday when they received information about a person being investigated by the United States Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency.

A father and son have been charged with one count each of possession of an explosive device. (Submitted)

On Friday, police executed a search warrant at a home on Larratt Lane, near Bathurst Street and Elgin Mills Road West, and discovered explosive materials. Police did not specify what exactly the materials were or how much was removed. They said chemicals were also seized.

Ontario Provincial Police, along with the York police's explosives detection unit, helped to removed the materials.

As a precaution, police practically shut down the street on Friday, forcing neighbours from their homes and restricting vehicle and pedestrian traffic as officers carried out their work. Neighbours have since been allowed back into their homes, police said. 

Despite, evacuation orders being lifted and the suburban street returning to normal, residents say they have been left feeling uneasy. 

Jill Garazi, who has lived on Larratt Lane for 16 years, said the experience was "very stressful and traumatic."

Jill Garazi said when police told her family to evacuate their home it 'was very stressful and traumatic.' (Chris Glover/CBC)

"You don't know what's going on, you don't know if your house is going to blow up, you don't know anything," Garazi said. 

Area resident Rajneesh Bir said crime was so uncommon in the neighbourhood that even minor robberies were rare. 

"Suddenly we hear about explosives and wow. It's very scary," Bir said.

'It's a very serious case for sure'

Const. Andy Pattenden, spokesperson for the York Regional Police, said officers are investigating how the materials got into the home, why they were there and what the accused planned to do with them.

Ontario Provincial Police, along with the York police's explosives detection unit, helped remove materials from a home. (Submitted)

"We don't often see things like this. It's a very serious case for sure. The charge, possession of explosives, is a very serious charge," Pattenden said.

"Thankfully, nobody was injured in this particular case. But there's lots more to this investigation. That's why we really need some tips and help from the public as to how these materials got there, why they were there and what these two people were up to." 

Police had a presence at the home on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Pattenden said.

In a news release on Tuesday, police said dangerous chemicals being stored in a home can pose serious risks, including fires and explosions.

They urged members of public to call police if they see any suspicious activity, notice chemical odours, or unusual storage or stockpiling of chemicals and to take precautions.

Police set up a tent, far left, as they removed hazardous materials from a Richmond Hill home. (Submitted)

Hazardous materials should never be eaten, inhaled or consumed, and even slightly inhaling a chemical can cause serious injury, they said. If a material is considered hazardous, police urge the public to leave the area and call 911.

"If you witness anyone dumping material that appears to be hazardous waste, get the best description as possible and call police immediately. Never approach the suspects," police said.

Police would like to hear from anyone who knows the two accused or who has information that may help investigators.