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      Sentence next in UP federal explosives case

      An Upper Peninsula man convicted of illegally transporting and storing explosive materials is returning to court for his sentence.

      John Lechner, a farmer and builder from Sault Ste. Marie, was convicted in June. He wasn't charged with plotting to blow up the mixture. But in a recorded conversation, he told an informant that he'd become a mercenary "when the people decide to take the government back."

      Lechner will learn his punishment Thursday in Marquette federal court. His co-defendant, Ken Kassab of Brimley, was acquitted of illegally transporting fuel oil and ammonium nitrate and another charge. He had struck a plea deal with the government but changed his mind and decided to go to trial.

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