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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


MARCH 27, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


KANSAS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO TRANSPORTING,

STORING EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS


            JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Bonner Springs, Kan., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally transporting and storing explosive materials.


             Robert B. McGee, 35, of Bonner Springs, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge William A. Knox this morning to the charges contained in an Aug. 23, 2007, federal indictment.


             By pleading guilty today, McGee admitted that he transported explosive materials from Kansas to Missouri in late June or early July 2006. Those materials included 144 M-80 explosive devices and 95 M-1000 explosive devices. McGee also admitted that he stored those explosives at his lake home in Edwards, Mo., which does not conform to the federal requirements for storage of explosive materials. McGee is not licensed either federally or on the state level to have in his possession any explosive materials or Class B fireworks.


             On Sept. 5, 2006, the Missouri State Fire Marshal's Office received a hot line call complaining that McGee was setting off large fireworks from his lake home in the Turkey Creek area of Edwards. The caller complained that the fireworks were causing homes to vibrate when they exploded. Another resident also told a Fire Marshal’s Office investigator that she was very concerned about the explosions and the safety of her family and property.


             While executing a search warrant on Sept. 7, 2006, at McGee’s lake home, law enforcement officers found several Class B fireworks stored in the home as well as illegal M-1000 and M-80 class ground salutes. The majority of the items were stored in the bedroom closet of the residence. One full case of four-inch aerial salutes, a new multi-shot cake aerial display and a plastic bag containing three 25-shot class B aerial displays were found in the closet. Three brown grocery bags containing 140 M-80 ground salutes and 74 M-1000s were found. Three military ammo cans containing 21 M-1000s, 112 M-80s, 2 M-250s and one home-made salute approximately two inches in diameter and approximately 4.5 inches long were recovered as well. Two boxes containing a dozen four-inch aerial display fireworks were recovered from behind the main door.


             McGee initially told investigators that the majority of the fireworks he shot at his lake home were common ones available to the general public, and that he had shot a few commercial fireworks but they were all gone. When McGee was informed that officers had searched his lake property and found Class B fireworks, he admitted to having the explosives in his bedroom. McGee told investigators that he paid an unknown individual $1,000 to purchase the fireworks.


            Under federal statutes, McGee could be subject to a sentence of up to 11 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $350,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller. It was investigated by the Missouri State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Benton County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html