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Press Release

Idaho Man Indicted on Federal Charges for Shooting Power Stations at the Hells Canyon and Brownlee Dams

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Idaho

BOISE — U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit announced today that a federal grand jury in Boise returned an indictment charging Randy Scott Vail, 58, of Meridian, Idaho with two counts of destruction of an energy facility, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1366(a). 

The indictment alleges that on June 8, 2023, and continuing into June 9, 2023, Vail used a rifle to shoot at the Hells Canyon Dam hydroelectric power station and the Brownlee Dam hydroelectric power station, causing damage to both.  The damage resulted in significant interruption and impairment of a function of the facilities.  The dams are owned and operated by Idaho Power Company and produce, transmit, store, and distribute electricity to Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. 

If convicted, Vail faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison.  A federal district court judge would determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Hurwit credited the cooperative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,  Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, and the Meridian Police Department, which led to the charges.  U.S. Attorney Hurwit also thanked the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Adams County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for their collaboration in the prosecution of the defendant.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.



Cassie Fulghum

Public Information Officer

(208) 334-1211

Updated August 8, 2023

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