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Nov. 5, 2010

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(VICTORIA, Texas) – Aaron C. Robinson, of Angleton, Texas, has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for knowingly using a cellular telephone to convey a false threat to damage or destroy a building by means of an explosive, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Robinson was convicted after pleading guilty to the felony offense on Aug. 3, 2010. Senior U.S. District Court Judge John D. Rainey handed down the sentence against Robinson, 30, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.

On June 30, 2009, an unidentified individual, later identified as Robinson, phoned in two bomb threats against the Calhoun County Courthouse. Robinson first called the Houston Police Department 911 call center. When asked by the 911 operator whether he needed fire or police, Robinson, attempting to disguise his voice, answered, “Calhoun County, Port Lavaca 4 C-4 5 pounds are set to detonate 10 to 3 today.” Robinson then called the Calhoun County Clerk’s Office and warned them that their employees should be aware of a bomb that was set to go off between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. that same day.

After receiving the bomb threat, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the FBI responded and began investigating the case with the assistance of the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office. In addition, a bomb disposal unit, along with their K-9s, from the U.S. Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi was dispatched to the Calhoun County courthouse in order to secure and clear the area. No bomb was found.

The investigation into the bomb threats determined the calls were made from a Tracfone cellular phone number. Upon obtaining subscriber information for the cellular phone, investigators determined the phone had been purchased from the Wal-Mart in Port Lavaca, Texas, the previous night. ATF agents, along with Calhoun County Sheriff’s officers, then met with the Wal-Mart Asset Protection Team, who were able to provide numerous images of the individuals who purchased the cellular phone the night before the bomb threats were made.

On July 3, 2009, officers received a tip from Crime Stoppers hotline identifying two individuals that were in the security tape in addition to the identification of Robinson as the person who had called in the bomb threats. Through interviews of the juveniles, investigating agents learned Robinson had directed the juveniles to purchase the cellular telephone for him and Robinson was in possession of the Tracfone from which the bomb threats had been made.

On Aug. 13, 2009, ATF agents and Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office Investigators located and interviewed Robinson in the Livingston Parish Jail in Louisiana on unrelated charges. Robinson told investigators he had been scheduled to appear at the Calhoun County Courthouse on June 30, 2009, on a child support matter and feared being jailed as a result of the outcome of that hearing, which prompted his threatening calls. Robinson advised officers that he did not intend to appear at the June 30th hearing. Robinson further stated that after picking up the cellular phone from one of the juveniles, he and his girlfriend stopped at a convenience store on their way back to Louisiana. At that time, Robinson used the prepaid cellular phone to make two bomb threats, one to the Calhoun County Courthouse and the other to the Houston 911 call center. Robinson believed that the threat would be taken more seriously if it were made to a 911 call center.

After receiving the bomb threat, the County took appropriate actions to protect the public at considerable expense. The court has ordered Robinson to pay $10,133.20 in restitution to Calhoun County. The court has further ordered that the federal sentence handed down today is to be served consecutive to sentence being served to be served on unrelated state charges.

Following the completion of his prison term, Robinson will serve a three-year term of supervised release. Robinson has been in federal custody without bond since his arrest and will remain in custody to serve his sentence.
The case was investigated by the ATF in coordination with and assistance of the FBI, the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office and the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station Bomb Disposal Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Patti Hubert Booth prosecuted the case.  

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