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Press Release

Columbia County Man Indicted For Threatening The President, A Congressman And A Federal Judge

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

SCRANTON- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Robert Maverick Vargo, age 25, of Berwick, Pennsylvania, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of threatening the President of the United States, interstate communications with a threat, and influencing a federal official by threat. 

According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, the indictment alleges that on October 11, 2022, United States Congressman Bennie Thompson’s office received a letter from Vargo at the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC, containing threats to kill Representative Thompson, his family, President Joseph Biden, and U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani alluding to “Anthrax,” and containing what appeared to be a white powder.

Representative Thompson is serving his fifteenth term as the Congressman representing the second Congressional District in Mississippi.  Representative Thompson is the Chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.

The letter specifically referenced Congressman Thompson’s role with the January 6 Select Committee and states “Im going to kill you! I will make you feel the rest of our pain & suffering.  There is nowhere or nobody who can keep you from me.  I am going to kill you & those you love.  I promise you that I will keep my promise until the day of my death.” The letter goes on to state, “You & Joe Biden soon will face death for the wrongs you’ve done to US.”

Investigation by the U.S. Capitol Police Hazardous Material Response Team determined that the white powder accompanying the threats did not pose an immediate public safety hazard.  It was determined through the investigation that the threatening letter and substance was sent by Vargo from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Capitol Police, Protective Service Bureau and the U.S. Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny P. Roberts is prosecuting the case.

The total maximum penalty under federal law for these offenses is 25 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

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Updated October 19, 2022