Wes Parker McDaniel, 53, of Merced, pleaded guilty Tuesday to making destructive devices and maliciously destroying two rental properties in Merced with explosives, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said in a news release.
According to court documents, McDaniel made 10 destructive devices or bombs from illegal fireworks that he had purchased in Nevada. The bombs’ other components included ammunition, shrapnel, and fire-starting material.
On June 20, 2021, he deployed three of the bombs at a house in Merced. One of the bombs hit the wall of the house, exploded, and destroyed the fence, which was shared with a neighboring property. Shrapnel created pockmarks on the wall of the house, and a propane tank was badly burned.
Bombs in Lemoore Didn’t Detonate
McDaniel threw another bomb at a different Merced residence. Additionally, he placed two bombs near a car at an apartment complex in Lemoore. Those three bombs did not detonate.
Law enforcement officers subsequently executed a search warrant at McDaniel’s residence. They found four bombs, fireworks, bottle rockets, a .22-caliber rifle, boxes of ammunition, fire-starting material, and other items used in bomb-making.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Merced Police Department, the Lemoore Police Department, and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office participated in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.
McDaniel is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 17, 2023, before U.S. District Judge Ana De Alba. He fences a lengthy prison.