Press Release

For Immediate Release
August 24, 2009

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate Recent Accomplishments

The FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD) is reporting a number of recent accomplishments including several arrests, convictions, and indictments in cases involving a variety of chemical, biological, and radiological threats.

“We are unrelenting in our efforts to protect the American people from weapons of mass destruction. Whether it is a threatening letter filled with ‘powder’ to a investigating a major radiological incident, we remain committed to strengthening the FBI’s close working relationships with all of our partners to prevent, investigate, and resolve these incidents,” said Dr. Vahid Majidi, Assistant Director, Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.

These recent cases highlight a number of actions to dismantle and disrupt these weapons of mass destruction-related threats.

  • New York: 1/08/2009—The Albany County Supreme Court, New York, sentenced ANTHONY SMITH to 12 years to life as a multiple felony offender under New York State Penal Law after SMITH sent a threat letter containing a powder to the New York State Court of Appeals Chief Justice. The letter said the enclosed substance was a deadly chemical poison.

  • Kansas City: 1/21/2009—The U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, sentenced JONATHAN KEITH JOYNER to five years’ probation for mailing an envelope containing a threatening letter and suspicious white powder in Kansas City, Missouri. The letter, addressed from JOYNER, of the Prairie Correctional Facility, said, “Anthrax. Breathe deep pig. HaHa."

  • Phoenix: 1/23/2009—The U.S. District Court of Arizona sentenced KENNETH RAY BRATTON to three years’ probation, in addition to time served, for making false statements to obtain 280 castor beans (Title 18, USC 1001). Castor beans can be used to produce ricin; an often fatal toxin. The individual who sold the castor beans became suspicious of BRATTON and contacted authorities.

  • Dallas: 1/26/2009—The U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, sentenced BRIAN KEITH MCKENZIE to 51 months in prison and three years supervised release for threatening the president of the United States (Title 18, USC 871). MCKENZIE pled guilty and admitted to sending letters to federal agencies threatening to kill government employees and President Bush. He also admitted he sent threatening letters containing white powder to the Fort Worth office of the Drug Enforcement Administration to incite anthrax fears.

  • Indianapolis: 1/29/2009—The U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, sentenced LUIS D. SILVERIA to 84 months in prison, followed by three years supervised release, for mailing letters containing a razor blade and an unknown powder to the Department of Corrections Tort Claim and to FBI offices in Boston, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut (Title 18, USC 876(c)). SILVERIA is currently serving a 10-year sentence on two counts of intimidation of a judge.

  • Memphis: 2/27/2009—The U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee, sentenced MARSHALL DEWAYNE WILLIAMS to 60 months’ imprisonment for mailing a letter containing a white powdery substance and a threatening message to a federal district court judge in Memphis, Tennessee (Title 18, USC Section 876(c)). The letter read, “ATTENTION You have just been exposed to one gram of powerful crystal Anthrax.”

  • Denver: 3/3/2009—The U.S. District Court of Colorado sentenced MARC HAROLD RAMSEY to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years supervised release, for mailing a threatening communication (Title 18, USC 876). RAMSEY pled guilty to writing and sending a handwritten threat letter containing a white powder to the presidential campaign headquarters of Arizona Senator John McCain.

  • Little Rock: 3/23/2009—The U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas, sentenced CHARLES WAYNE MOORE, JR. to 50 months in prison, followed by three years supervised release, for sending envelopes containing threatening letters and white powder to a U.S. district court judge and to an Arkansas state supreme court judge (Title 18, USC 1038(a)(1)).

  • Portland: 4/01/2009—The U.S. District Court of Oregon sentenced DAVID ALBERT GROVES to 15 months in prison and ordered him to pay $12,432.17 in restitution for mailing numerous hoax letters containing white powder to various federal and Oregon state government agencies. GROVES pled guilty to mailing threatening communication (Title 18, USC 876(c)).

  • Boston: 4/30/2009—The U.S. District Court of New Hampshire sentenced JOSEPH DOWNING to 12 months and one day in prison, followed by three years supervised release, for attempting to sell government property (Title 18, USC 641) and for possessing unregistered firearms (Title 26, USC 5841,5861(d), and 5871). While serving with the Vermont National Guard in Iraq, DOWNING stole military property and mailed it to his home in New Hampshire.  DOWNING then attempted to sell the stolen U.S. property, including two high-explosive rocket grenades. Downing pled guilty to theft and attempted sale of stolen military items.

  • Philadelphia: 5/13/2009—The U.S District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania sentenced MONICA Y. GONZALEZ to five months in a halfway house with mental health treatment, followed by five months of home confinement, and three years supervised release for sending multiple letters containing explosives threats, anthrax threats, and white powder to Wells Fargo Auto Finance, Inc., of Chester City, Pennsylvania. GONZALEZ was ordered to pay $1,539.80 in restitution and incurred additional fines of $2,500.00.

  • Dallas: 6/04/2009—The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division, sentenced RICHARD LEON GOYETTE, also known as Michael Jurek, to 46 months in prison and three years supervised release for sending 64 threat letters containing white powder to various financial institutions across the United States and one threat letter to JP Morgan Chase. GOYETTE pled guilty to two counts and was sentenced to 46 months on each; the sentences will run concurrently. The judge ordered GOYETTE to pay a $5,000 fine and $87,734 in restitution to police departments, fire departments, and Laboratory Response Network laboratories involved in the case.

  • Phoenix: 6/15/2009—The U.S. District Court of Arizona sentenced WILLIAM CARTER to five years probation and a total of $6,462 in criminal monetary penalties for conducting a hoax biological attack via mail (Title 18, USC 1038(a)(1)(A)). Carter pled guilty to mailing an envelope containing a powdery substance and bearing the words “Praze to Ala” to a company in Prescott, Arizona.

Formed in 2006, the WMDD was integrated within the FBI’s National Security Branch with the mission to identify and disrupt weapons of mass destruction operations and threats by leading the national response to incidents, working closely with state and local partners, providing outreach and information sharing, and fostering improved preparedness.

Learn more about the WMDD.

 

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