Merced man charged with bomb-making, weapons possession


A California man was charged Thursday with making 10 shrapnel bombs, including one that was thrown at a home and burned a fence, authorities said.

A federal grand jury indicted Wes Parker McDaniel, 52, of Merced in the San Joaquin Valley, on charges of making and possessing unregistered destructive devices, destroying property with an explosive, impersonating a federal agent and being a felon illegally possessing a rifle and ammunition that were found at his home, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether McDaniel had an attorney to speak on his behalf.

McDaniel was arrested two days after police said the backyard fence of a Merced home caught fire on June 20 and metal shrapnel damaged the outside of the home. Video surveillance footage showed someone throwing a lit device over the fence and that led to McDaniel, authorities said.

Nobody was hurt but a bomb squad found five additional explosive devices around the home. Investigators determined that they were built with an explosive powder and metal shrapnel designed to cause damage and injury, authorities have said.

Other similar explosives were found when police searched McDaniel’s home, investigators said.

Authorities haven’t said why McDaniel allegedly targeted the home.

McDaniel also is charged with falsely claiming to be a National Security Agency special agent and trying to arrest someone on June 20, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

The statement didn’t provide details.

If convicted, McDaniel could face up to 20 years in prison for malicious destruction of property by means of explosive materials and up to 10 years for each of the other weapons and bomb charges.

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