Skip to main content
Press Release

Kern County Resident Pleads Guilty to Distributing Explosives

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

FRESNO, Calif. — Joseph Roy Vigneault, 21, of Lake Isabella, pleaded guilty today to distributing explosives to a non-licensed person, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, in May 2023, Vigneault and Michael Roy Anglin, 21, of Wofford Heights, sold and delivered six full boxes and one partial box of Hydromite weighing a total of approximately 350 pounds to a non-licensed person. Neither Vigneault, Anglin, nor the buyer were licensed to handle or transport explosives as required by federal law. Vigneault knew or had reason to believe that the Hydromite was stolen. The boxes containing the explosives were labeled “Explosive, Blasting, Type E” and “Blasting Agent.” The sticks of Hydromite were also individually labeled “Danger” and “Explosive.” Hydromite is a high explosive containing ammonium nitrate and is used as a blasting agent.

Austin Powder West LLC, a licensed explosives manufacturer, confirmed that 295 sticks of Hydromite, weighing approximately 702.1 pounds, went missing from its Lake Isabella storage facility sometime between May 6 and May 11, 2023. The missing explosives included the boxes that Vigneault sold. The value of the unrecovered explosives is $7,603. Vigneault agreed to make restitution to Austin Powder in that amount.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.

Vigneault is scheduled for sentencing on May 20, 2024. Vigneault faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 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.

Charges are pending against Anglin. The charges are only allegations; he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated February 12, 2024

Firearms Offenses