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Press Release

Zephyrhills Man Arrested For Unlicensed Distribution Of Explosive Materials, Unlawful Making Of A Destructive Device

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

Tampa, FL - United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the arrest and filing of a criminal complaint charging James John Hall (34, Zephyrhills) with one count of unlicensed distribution of explosive materials, one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device, and one count of unlawful making of a destructive device. If convicted, Hall faces up to 10 years in federal prison on each count.

According to the complaint, on November 1 and 2, 2022, Hall conducted telephone communications with a man to whom he had sold firearms in the past. In these conversations Hall offered to sell the man a “pipe bomb” that Hall had built. Hall shared with the man that he had contemplated using the “pipe bomb” to target an individual with whom he was angry. The man with whom Hall was communicating is a confidential informant with the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. The informant reached out to the sheriff’s office, who then coordinated further investigation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Later in the evening on November 2, the confidential informant and a Pasco Sheriff’s detective (acting undercover) met with Hall, where the detective purchased the “pipe bomb” as well as a Glock 17 pistol Hall offered to sell him. When asked about future purchases, Hall indicated he “had enough to build six more now.” Hall also indicated that the device he was selling to the undercover detective had a magnet on the bottom because it was “meant for somebody else.”

The suspected destructive device was then disassembled by ATF bomb technicians. The disassembly and examination of the device revealed a metal pipe that was sealed at both ends (with end caps) and filled with suspected pyrotechnic powder, with a suspected pyrotechnic fuse inserted into one of the end caps. The pipe was taped to suspected mixed explosive materials. ATF found no records for Hall in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record, indicating he was unlawfully in possession of the device.

This case was investigated by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Pasco Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Samantha Newman.

A complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.          

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Updated November 9, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Firearms Offenses