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Rural Minnesota man who made illegal explosives for Hollywood and NFL sentenced to federal prison

Handcuffs. (Keith Allison/Flickr)
January 16, 2021

A man who ran a business manufacturing and selling homemade explosives out of a shed in Western Minnesota was sentenced to one year and 10 months in federal prison on Tuesday.

Federal agents arrested Kenneth Ray Miller, of Brownsville, after reading a profile about his business in Popular Science magazine. The article described Miller as a special-effects wizard who made chemical smoke bombs and sold them to the NFL, air shows, Hollywood movies, the military and foreign militaries.

Miller had a record of felony convictions that prohibited him from using some of the explosive materials. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also found illegal firearms on Miller’s property when they raided it last Spring, according to court documents.

Miller pleaded guilty last September.

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

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

Miller apologized to the court and his family.

“I’m so sorry,” he said. “I took what could be a very valuable skill set and I misused it.”

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