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Man Pleads Not Guilty in Drug, Booby-Trap Case

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A Newbury Park man accused of booby-trapping a methamphetamine lab with explosives faces four possible life sentences for allegedly endangering the lives of four law enforcement officers who raided the lab.

Bradley Raville, 44, pleaded not guilty in Ventura County Superior Court on Tuesday to four counts of attempted murder in connection with a police search on the shed that housed the lab. He also is charged with one count of placing a booby-trap and one count of manufacturing methamphetamine.

Judge Edward Brodie set an Aug. 18 trial date for Raville.

“Each of the attempted murder charges carries a life sentence,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Chris Harman after Raville’s brief arraignment. “There were four people at the door, so each person is named as a victim.”

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Prosecutors maintain that Raville rigged explosive chemicals with the intent to kill anyone who entered the shed behind the Rudman Drive home of Raville’s parents--in this case the three Ventura County sheriff’s deputies and an FBI agent conducting the June 11 search.

No explosion occurred, but that possibility sent the three law enforcement officers scrambling for safety and prompted the evacuation of several nearby homes.

Authorities contend that the bubbling chemicals, which were set to be ignited by a nearby lighted blow-torch, were powerful enough to blow the adjacent home off its foundation.

“It’s my understanding that it’s very common that meth labs are booby-trapped,” Harman said.

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Raville’s attorneys have previously argued in court the chemicals could have caused a fire but not the bomb-like explosion authorities maintain.

Authorities also said they found numerous chemicals related to the lab manufacture of methamphetamine.

Deputies said Raville had built an elaborate surveillance system that included several video cameras placed around the house.

Raville has had several run-ins with the law over the years.

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He was arrested two years ago in connection with the fatal shooting of a Lancaster tow-truck driver. Raville said he shot Juan Elijio Carranza in self-defense, and no charges were filed.

Raville also faces a separate charge of methamphetamine possession in connection with a 1996 arrest in a Newbury Park hotel room. That case was dismissed, but authorities have now refiled it.

Raville’s attorneys, however, are seeking to have the evidence in that case thrown out. A hearing on that motion was set for Aug. 11.


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