Jefferson County Man Sentenced for Terroristic Threat in Beaumont
BEAUMONT, Texas – A 23-year-old Beaumont, Texas man has been sentenced to federal prison for making a terroristic threat in the Eastern District of Texas announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.
Lance Giovanni Fontenot pleaded guilty on Sep. 15, 2016, to maliciously conveying false information about explosive material and was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.
According to information presented in court, on June 15, 2016, Fontenot placed a telephone call to the ExxonMobil refinery located at 1795 Burt Street in Beaumont, Texas and claimed that explosive devices were set to detonate at packages placed around the exterior of the facility at a specific time that day. In the call, Fontenot stated that a specific employee working at the plant had worked with a family member to place the explosives around the property, and Fontenot told the employee of the plant who answered the call that the employee responsible had ties to a terrorist organization identified by Fontenot as "ISIS."
Law enforcement agencies immediately responded to the scene, and once the threat was identified as false, began to focus on identifying the caller who made the threat. Within hours, investigators identified Fontenot, who had recently been in a romantic relationship with the employee that the defendant claimed was responsible for placing the explosives around the plant. Investigators then placed a call to the number used to phone in the threat, and Fontenot answered and identified himself at that number. Later that same day, Fontenot admitted to knowingly lying about the threat of explosives and was aware that his actions would disrupt the operations of a plan with an interstate pipeline that would result in a significant financial loss to the company. Fontenot stated the purpose for the threat was to retaliate at the named employee for discontinuing their romantic relationship. Fontenot also admitted to lying about the employee having any known connection with a terrorist organization.
Fontenot was also ordered to pay restitution to ExxonMobil in the amount of $372,691.79, which was the cost to the refinery for shutting down the pipeline.
This case was investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force including agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Beaumont Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Services, and the Port Arthur Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Woods.