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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fresno Man Sentenced For Possession Of A Pipe Bomb

Fresno, Calif. — United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii sentenced Jon Smilanick, 36, of Fresno, today to 30 months in prison for possession of a pipe bomb in violation of the National Firearms Act, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, on January 9, 2013, police were called to Smilanick’s ex-neighbors’ home with the report of a bomb detonating. They found the remnants of a detonated pipe bomb. The ex-neighbors reported that they believed that Smilanick had detonated the device as they had had ongoing problems with him.

According to the plea agreement, police obtained a search warrant for Smilanick’s residence and found bomb-making materials in the garage and a live pipe bomb in the house. Smilanick’s wife said that she had hidden the bomb because she did not want him to have it. While at the residence, another neighbor came by and told police that on two occasions, he heard explosions from the area of Smilanick residence and had once seen a man matching Smilanick’s build throw something over the back fence and then heard a loud explosion. Officers went to the area to which the neighbor directed them and found remnants of two different devices.

Smilanick admitted to manufacturing the devices. He referred to them as “firecrackers.” He said he had been making them since he was in the sixth grade. He said he taught himself to make pipe bombs, and that he had made three this year. None of the devices were registered with the National Registration and Transfer Record.

“This investigation is an example of the excellent cooperation we have with both the Fresno Police Department and the community as a whole. Because of this cooperation, we were able to seize these dangerous explosive devices, and ensure the violator faces justice,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Joseph Riehl

This case was the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Fresno Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly A. Sanchez prosecuted the case.

Press Release Number: 
Docket #: 1:13-CR-00056 AWI
Updated April 8, 2015