KAMIAH MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO STALKING AND EXPLOSIVES CHARGES
Levi Wayne Mendenhall, 31, of Kamiah, Idaho, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, to transporting explosives with intent to kill, injure, or intimidate, stalking, and use of explosive material during the commission of a federal felony, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.
According to the plea agreement, between August 28, 2009, and September 4, 2009, Mendenhall purchased components to construct a destructive device from stores located in northeastern Washington. He constructed the destructive device out of three inch plastic pipe and filled the pipe with a mixture of explosive powder, razor blades and BB's. Mendenhall then wired the device to a battery and placed the device inside a box. He set the device to trigger an explosion when an item was removed from the box. On September 4, 2009, Mendenhall rented a car in Omak, Washington, and transported the device to Kamiah, Idaho. After arriving in Kamiah, he placed the box containing the destructive device on the hood of a car located at a house where his wife, from whom he was separated, was staying. The next morning, the homeowner found the box on her car, opened it, and became suspicious when she saw wires. The Kamiah Marshal was contacted. He removed the box to a safe location, and contacted the Spokane Bomb Squad, who disarmed the device a few hours later.
ATF agents obtained a federal search warrant for Mendenhall's residence in Omak, Washington. They recovered explosive powder matching the explosive powder used in the destructive device and a receipt containing two of the components used to make the destructive device. ATF agents later obtained video of Mendenhall purchasing the components at the four stores in Washington state. ATF agents also located rental car records proving that Mendenhall had rented a car in Omak the day before the device was placed on the car in Kamiah, Idaho. He returned the rental car the following day. The rental car’s mileage was consistent with a roundtrip to Kamiah, Idaho. One of Mendenhall’s fingerprints was found on the outside of the box that held the destructive device.
The charge of transporting explosives with intent to kill, injure, or intimidate is punishable by up to ten years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and not more than three years supervised release. The charge of stalking is punishable by up to ten years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and not more than three years supervised release. The charge of using explosive material during the commission of a federal felony is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment, consecutive to the other charges, a term of supervised release of not more than three years, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Sentencing is scheduled for August 2 before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
“Women who end domestic relationships must be free from violence and fear of violence,” said Olson. “This defendant's conduct endangered many lives. His guilty plea ensures that he will not present a danger to his now ex-wife or any other person for a long time.”
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The ATF’s investigation was assisted by law enforcement officers with the Spokane Bomb Squad, Kamiah Marshal, Idaho State Police, Colville Tribal Police Department, Grand Coulee Police Department, Okanagan County Sheriff’s Office, Airway Heights (Washington) Police Department, and Washington State Department of Corrections.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a collaborative effort by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and communities to prevent and deter gun violence.