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Press Release

Jury Convicts Kern County Man of Illegally Possessing Firearms, Explosives and Ammunition

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — Today, after a three-day trial, a federal jury found Kenneth William Kirkland, 48, of California City, guilty of being a felon in possession of firearms, being a felon in possession of a destructive device, being a felon in possession of explosives, and possession of a destructive device not registered in the National Firearms Registry, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents and evidence produced at trial, on October 11, 2015, officers from the California City Police Department executed a search warrant at Kirkland’s house and found a 5.56-caliber assault rifle that was loaded with a high-capacity magazine and one round in the chamber and a 7.62 x 54R-caliber rifle. When officers discovered detonators in a yellow metal container, they requested the assistance of the Kern County Sheriff’s bomb squad.

In addition to the detonators, several sticks of dynamite were found and a partially constructed improvised explosive device (IED) was found in a shoebox under Kirkland’s bed. Electrical components in a separate shoebox were also found. It was later determined that with either the insertion of batteries into a battery pack or the connecting of its wires directly to a battery, the partially constructed improvised explosive device could be readily assembled into a fully functional IED.

According to the indictment, on June 17, 1993, Kirkland was convicted in Kern County of burglary and was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the California City Police Department, and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Angela L. Scott and Christopher Baker are prosecuting the case.

Kirkland is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on December 5, 2016. Kirkland faces a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for being a felon in possession of firearms or a destructive device, and a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for possession of a firearm not registered in the National Firearms Registry. 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.

Updated September 2, 2016

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 1:15-cr-322 DAD