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Press Release

Kern County Man Sentenced for Illegally Possessing Firearms, Explosives and a Destructive Device

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

FRESNO, Calif. — Kenneth William Kirkland, 48, of California City, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd to four years and nine months in prison for 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, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

Kirkland was convicted of these offenses in September 2016 after a three-day trial. 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 was 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 prosecuted the case.

Updated December 6, 2016

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 1:15-cr-322 DAD