FRESNO, Calif. — John Mendoza, 24, of Bakersfield, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill to six months in prison for unlawful receipt of explosive material, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Judge O’Neill ordered Mendoza to forfeit several firearms and a large amount of ammunition as part of the sentence.
According to court documents, on December 9, 2011, Mendoza called an undercover FBI agent (UCA) who was posing as a seller of weapons and explosives and left a voice mail. Mendoza told the UCA that he was looking to buy RPG’s (rocket propelled grenades), grenades, mines, and Stingers (anti–aircraft missiles). The UCA told Mendoza that grenades were about $200 each. Mendoza said that “even at $200 per grenade, I may only be able to buy one.” The UCA later said he might be able to get grenades for Mendoza for $150 each. Mendoza and the UCA then agreed on the price for grenades and a location to conduct the transaction.
On December 13, 2011, the UCA and Mendoza had a second conversation during which Mendoza asked if the UCA could do a demonstration of the grenades. The UCA told Mendoza that “these are the real deal, you need a safe place, they’re loud and could draw unwanted attention.”
On December 17, 2011, Mendoza met with the UCA in Mojave and purchased two grenades for $300. Mendoza placed them in his car. The UCA walked away, and Mendoza was arrested.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Joint Terrorism Task Force with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney Duce Rice prosecuted the case.