TUCSON, Arizona (Reuters) - An Arizona man was arrested on Friday on charges he made chemical weapons and used them to release a cloud of poisonous chlorine gas outside the home of a Tucson couple, authorities said.
FBI agents arrested Tucson resident Todd Russell Fries, 48, on a two count indictment alleging he made and used a chemical weapon, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
The indictment alleged that on August 2, 2009, Fries, who also goes by the alias Todd Burns, placed chemical devices in the front and back yard of a northwest Tucson couple's home.
When ignited, the devices produced a football-field-sized cloud of chlorine gas that hovered over the neighborhood and resulted in the evacuation of numerous families in the area.
The yellow-green gas causes acute lung damage, and was used as a choking agent during World War One, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"This defendant developed and executed a chlorine gas attack that impacted an entire neighborhood and had the potential to cause tremendous harm and fear," U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke said in a statement.
"I commend our partners at the FBI for their diligence on this case, and we expect justice to be served," he added.
A conviction on the charges carries a jail term, a $250,000 fine or both. Sentencing would be determined by the judge presiding over the case, the statement said.
Manuel Johnson, a spokesman for the FBI's Phoenix division, declined to give further details of the case, due to pending court proceedings.
(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Jerry Norton)