Veteran caught with explosives will get therapy

A 23-year-old former Marine pleaded guilty Friday to bringing a nonlethal grenade and other explosives equipment onto a plane at John Wayne Airport.

Gregory Salyer of Kentucky caused a brief evacuation from one of the airport's terminals in August when screeners found in one of his checked bags a sting-ball grenade that shoots rubber projectiles, two military artillery fuses and a fuse assembly.

Investigators also found that Salyer had carried onto his flight a butterfly knife, 300 steroid pills and more than 10 Adderall pills. Adderall is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD.)

He pleaded guilty to placing a destructive device in checked baggage, receiving stolen property and carrying a dagger, as well as two counts of possession of a controlled substance — all felonies.

A judge sentenced Salyer, who had recently been discharged from the Marines at the time of his arrest, to three years of probation and enrollment in a specialized court program for combat veterans.

Orange County's Combat Veterans Court is an intensive treatment program designed for former military personnel dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other aftereffects of combat.

Salyer had to plead guilty to all the charges against him to qualify for the program, which caps its enrollment and closely screens candidates to make sure they qualify for individual treatment.

He was also ordered to pay restitution, and he was sentenced to a short jail term, though he received the equivalent in time-served credit because he'd been behind bars since his Aug. 27 arrest.

Prosecutor Andrew Katz called the sentence an "appropriate disposition" for the case.

Without this resolution, Salyer could have spent years behind bars, according to Katz, who noted one of the charges carried a six-year maximum sentence.

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