PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Craig T. Pope, 29, and Justin B. Lane, 34, were arraigned on May 3 and today, respectively, in the U.S. District Court in Pensacola after a federal grand jury returned two separate indictments charging each of them with mailing threatening communications and threatened use of a weapon of mass destruction. The indictments were announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
According to Pope’s indictment, in April and May 2017, Pope mailed a letter to a judge threatening a bomb and an anthrax outbreak in the courthouse. According to Lane’s indictment, in August 2017, Lane mailed a letter to the Polk County State Attorney’s Office threatening to use anthrax.
Pope’s trial is scheduled for June 4 at 9:00 a.m., and Lane’s trial is scheduled for July 9 at 8:00 a.m.
If convicted of mailing threatening communications, Pope and Lane face a maximum of five years in prison. If convicted of threatened use of a weapon of mass destruction, the defendants face a maximum of life in prison.
These cases resulted from investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tampa Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney David L. Goldberg is prosecuting the cases.
An indictment is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.