MARSHALL, Texas (KETK) – An East Texas man pleaded guilty on Thursday to distribution of information relating to explosives and destructive devices, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas Ganjei.

Beau Daniel Merryman, 20, of Jefferson, pleaded guilty to federal offenses before U.S. Magistrate Judge Roy S. Payne.

Information presented in court showed that Merryman had online conversations with undercover FBI employees between September and October 2019.

The 20-year-old gave officials detailed instructions on how they could make improvised explosive devices (IEDs), such as pipe bombs and pressure-cooker bombs. 

“Merryman explained how to construct the IEDs, select explosives, pack shrapnel for maximum damage, and construct fuses or detonating devices,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He also stated that the IEDs should be used to target federal law enforcement and critical infrastructure, like electrical substations, which are high-voltage electric system facilities.

“This defendant had the knowledge, intent, and capability to inflict great harm on our East Texas community,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. “Thanks to the extraordinary investigative work of our agency partners, he was stopped before any lives were lost or damage was done.”

The FBI mentioned they always strive to protect their communities.

“This defendant believed he was sharing his knowledge and expertise with individuals who would cause significant damage or injury to targets including federal law enforcement and critical infrastructure,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno. “We ask the public to stay vigilant and to continue reporting suspicious or threatening behavior to law enforcement.”

Merryman was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 16, 2019. 

He could spend up to 20 years in federal prison. His sentencing will be set by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. 

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the presentence investigation is finished by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Tyler Resident Agency, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Cass County District Attorney’s Office, Atlanta Police Department and Tyler Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Coan and Ryan Locker.