New Castle Man Indicted for Using Facebook to Threaten Government Witness in Federal Narcotics Trafficking and Murder-For-Hire Trial
WILMINGTON, Del. – Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Delaware returned an indictment charging John Boney, age 35, of New Castle, Delaware with witness tampering and interstate transportation of threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 875 and 1512.
If convicted of the charges contained in the indictment returned today, John Boney faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years of supervised release following any prison sentence.
According to the indictment and court documents filed in the case, John Boney was arrested on January 24, 2013 in the U.S. Courthouse in Wilmington after he used Facebook to threaten a government witness scheduled to testify that day in a federal criminal trial. In that federal criminal trial, John Boney’s brother, William Boney, age 39, of Pike Creek, was charged with narcotics trafficking, attempted murder by retaliating against an informant, and soliciting another person to retaliate against an informant by committing murder.
The trial of William Boney stemmed from his November 2010 attempt to broker a seven-kilogram cocaine deal worth approximately $217,000 at his residence in Delaware. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) agents intervened before the deal could be completed, and William Boney, along with four other individuals, was arrested. While attempting to cooperate with DEA agents against other narcotics traffickers, William Boney plotted the murder of a confidential informant who had notified DEA agents about the November 2010 cocaine deal. During meetings with a person he solicited to carry out the murder, William Boney discussed killing the confidential informant or the informant’s young child.
John Boney was present in the U.S. Courthouse during William Boney’s criminal trial, which began in the Wilmington federal building on January 22, 2013. On the morning of January 24, 2013, a government witness arrived at the courthouse to testify, but refused to enter the courtroom. The government witness informed law enforcement agents that John Boney sent a message to the witness’s brother on Facebook threatening to kill the witness if he testified against William Boney. In the message, John Boney wrote: “Snitches get laid in ditches right isn’t that the street rule and your bro is a state witness against my bro after he owes him 30 grand.” John Boney ended the message by writing, “if he testifies against someone who helped him out I’m sorry for what happens to him.”
After learning of the threat, federal agents removed John Boney from the courtroom in which William Boney’s trial was being held, interviewed him, and seized an Android smartphone that John Boney admitted using to post the threat on Facebook. John Boney was arrested and remains in federal custody.
On January 29, 2013, the jury returned guilty verdicts against William Boney on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A), and 846; attempted murder by retaliating against an informant, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1513(a)(1)(B); and soliciting another person to retaliate against an informant by committing murder, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1513(a)(1)(B) and 373.
This case is being investigated by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jamie M. McCall and Edward J. McAndrew.
Criminal indictments are only charges and are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.