Man profiled in magazine sentenced on explosives charge

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota man whose profile in Popular Science magazine about making homemade explosives for the NFL and others initiated a federal investigation was sentenced Tuesday to nearly two years in prison for possessing illegal materials.

Agents raided the Brownsville home of Kenneth Miller in March, after the magazine article showed photographs of Miller shooting red flares off the hood of his pickup truck and packing powdered chemicals in a nearby shack he used as a makeshift laboratory.

Miller told the magazine he built special effects for the NFL, air shows and Hollywood movies, including the blockbuster Transformers franchise.

Investigators said Miller had previous felony convictions that precluded him from touching the highly combustible material used to create these devices. Miller admitted to manufacturing and selling smoke-generating devices and a chlorate explosive mixture to customers across the country.

Miller pleaded guilty in September to illegally manufacturing and selling explosives.

In a video sentencing hearing on Tuesday, defense attorney James Ventura said Miller didn’t know that some of the materials he used were illegal for him to possess, the Star Tribune reported.

“He thought that he was legal,” Ventura said. “He wasn’t. And he knows that it’s his fault.”

Miller was first convicted of a felony for conspiracy to make illegal explosives in 1986. A few years later, he was convicted of illegally possessing a firearm in North Dakota.