Former Professor Pleads Guilty to Setting Multiple Fires Behind Firefighters Responding to the Dixie Fire
FRESNO, Calif. — Angelo Jackson Mendiver, 27, of Bakersfield, a campus security supervisor at Arvin High School, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to engage in manufacturing and dealing in explosive materials and mailing explosive devices, as well as making false statements to FBI agents, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, Mendiver used an Instagram account to sell explosives and explosive materials and worked closely with a male juvenile Bakersfield high school student to fulfill transactions and send explosives in the mail to residents of other states. On June 1, 2023, a federal search warrant executed at Mendiver’s residence resulted in the seizure of approximately 500 pounds of explosives and explosive materials. Agents seized another 500 pounds of explosives and explosive materials from the juvenile’s residence. At both residences, agents found other items used to make explosives.
In one Instagram message to the juvenile, Mendiver sent a photo of titanium salute, an explosive device, followed by two videos he took of homemade explosive devices that he had made and the statement that “homemade kills all consumer.”
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.
Mendiver is scheduled for sentencing on April 1, 2024. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,00 fine for each count. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.