CORPUS CHRISTI, TX—Erasmo Luna, 26, of Robstown, has been arrested following the return of a federal indictment charging him with two counts of solicitation to commit a crime of violence, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris. The indictment was returned by a Corpus Christi grand jury on April 25, 2012.
Luna surrendered to authorities in Robstown this afternoon following a search of his Robstown home by agents of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in cooperation with the Nueces County Sheriff’s Office and Robstown Police Department. Luna is expected to make his initial court appearance Friday afternoon before a U.S. Magistrate Judge.
The indictment includes two counts of solicitation to commit a crime of violence. These counts allege that on two separate dates Luna solicited, commanded, induced, and persuaded another person to convey a threat to damage or destroy one or more buildings owned by Valero Refining in Corpus Christi.
“The disruption, fear, and waste of resources generated by hoax bomb threats is especially burdensome during these austere economic times,” said Morris. “We will continue to work cooperatively and aggressively with our partners to bring to justice those who break the law.”
Luna faces up to five years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $125,000 on each count, if convicted.
Jose Orlando Padilla, 19, of Robstown, previously pleaded guilty to using a telephone to communicate bomb threats to the Valero Refinery in Corpus Christi. In the course of his guilty plea, Padilla admitted that at approximately 3:15 p.m. on October 25, 2011, using a telephone, he relayed to an individual at the Valero Refinery, “There’s a bomb in complex six.” Padilla also acknowledged he called the refinery a second time at 3:20 p.m. and again six minutes later at 3:26 p.m. Padilla reported, “There’s a bomb in complex six and seven.” At 6:08 a.m. on October 28, 2011, Padilla admitted to again calling the Valero Refinery and claiming, “There’s a bomb in complex six. It’s going to blow up between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m.” When the Valero employee tried to ask him a question about the bomb he replied with profanity and added, “Bomb is going to go and you need to clear complex six.” In response to the threats Valero security, law enforcement personnel and bomb detection dogs were dispatched.
The case was investigated by the FBI with the assistance of the Nueces County Sheriff’s Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.