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TWRA bomb threat could net prison sentence
Oct 25, 2012 12:00 am
An Arkansas man, upset over being charged with boating under the influence, is in serious trouble after allegedly threatening to bomb the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency office in Nashville.
The man also is charged with making threatening phone calls and sending threatening e-mails to a number of TWRA regional offices and Agency personnel in Cookeville, Morristown, Crossville and other areas.
According to Nooga.com, numerous threatening calls were made but not all of them were documented. Those that were documented will be entered into evidence in a trial scheduled for Nov. 19 in Fort Smith, Ark.
Several TWRA employees are scheduled to appear at the trial as witnesses.
Since the calls were made from Arkansas to Tennessee, across state lines, the crime rises to a more serious federal level.
Also, given the current climate of crimes involving work-place violence and threats of bombing, the charges are being taken extremely seriously.
The man faces up to five years in prison on each of the threats against individuals, and up to 10 years for the threat to bomb the TWRA office.
Investigators say it all began in late March when the man was arrested and charged with Boating Under the Influence after an accident on Tims Ford Lake.
According to the indictment, shortly after his court appearance on the BUI charge the individual became upset and began making threatening phone calls to the TWRA and others.
Court records show that his attorney filed a “notice of insanity defense” on April 16 and had his client undergo a psychological examination to determine if he is competent to stand trial. He was deemed competent, and the Nov. 19 trial date was set.
TWRA officers are bonded and licensed to carry firearms and make arrests. In Tennessee hunters, fishermen and boaters are required by law to cooperate with TWRA officers when checked in the field or on the water.
In recent years the TWRA has made boating safety a point of emphasis as lakes and waterways become increasingly crowded. Officers are especially on the lookout for impaired boaters. Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol is considered as dangerous as operating a highway vehicle under the influence.
This is the latest in a series of threats or acts of violence against the TWRA and its officials. Last year the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area had to be temporarily closed due to concerns about vandalism that could have led to serious injury.
An individual or individuals, apparently upset over the TWRA’s decision to close the area to wild hog hunting, strew nails in roads to sabotage Agency vehicles and put spiked boards on trails used by TWRA personnel.
The TWRA was so concerned about the potential for escalating violence that it closed the area to the public for awhile and offered a reward leading to the arrest of the person(s) involved. So far no arrests have been made.