Detroit man sentenced to prison for hand grenade deal

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Detroit man has been sentenced to 52 months in prison for trying to sell hand grenades, federal officials announced Monday.

Byron Tyrone Ross and a FBI confidential source exchanged text messages and phone calls to arrange the sale of four devices, according to court records . 

Ross, 29, and the source negotiated the purchase price of $150 per grenade and in December 2017, he showed off four “pineapple”-style hand grenades at his home, authorities said in a statement.

After determining that the pieces appeared real, investigators from the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force tried to arrest Ross, but he fled on foot as they approached his home, authorities said.

He was apprehended in a nearby garage, and FBI Special Agent bomb technicians and a Detroit Police Department K-9 team recovered the grenades and a loaded firearm, officials said.

Investigators and analysts from the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, determined that the grenades were fully functional and contained a black powder explosive.

“Hand grenades are an instrument of extreme violence," U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said. "These are military weapons used to wound, main and kill on the battlefield — they have no place on our streets."

Ross pleaded guilty to possessing and attempting to sell live hand grenades and was sentenced Friday by U.S District Judge Sean Cox.

“The black market sale of this type of weapon should be a concern to everyone in the community," said Special Agent in Charge Timothy R. Slater, Detroit Division of the FBI. "The sentence imposed ... is a reflection of the seriousness of this defendant’s actions."