MARQUETTE - A federal jury on Thursday convicted a Sault Ste. Marie man of six felonies related to the possession and transportation of more than 4,000 pounds of explosives.
John Francis Lechner, 65, was convicted on two counts of transporting explosive materials without a permit, two counts of improperly storing explosive materials, one count of possessing explosives while under indictment and one count of making materially false statements to law enforcement.
The jury also acquitted Lechner on two counts related to the distribution of explosive materials.
Lechner's codefendant, Kenneth Ageed Kassab, 53 of Brimley, was acquitted on both charges he faced. Kassab, who was employed by Lechner, had been charged with one count of transporting explosive materials and one count of possessing explosives as a convicted felon.
The verdict was returned at shortly after 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
Original charges against Lechner stemmed from a separate incident in September, where a government informant wearing a wire allegedly helped him transport about 4,150 pounds of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil.
The ANFO was moved from property owned by Lechner on Blalock Road in Sault Ste. Marie, to a shed on the informant's property in Dafter.
A federal agent obtained permission to search the informant's property, locating 83 50-pound bags of ANFO resting on pallets in the shed. Searches of other properties Lechner and his mother owned turned up dozens of blasting caps and thousands of feet of detonator cord.
Court testimony from September revealed there was enough ANFO to produce an explosion at least equal to the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla., which killed 168 people.