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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Tennessee

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Tennessee Prison Inmate Facing Federal Charges For White Powder Mailing Hoax

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – July 11, 2019 – Jeffery Durance, 36, of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and an inmate of the Tennessee Department of Correction, was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury, charging him with mailing a threatening communication and conveying false information while threatening to use a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD), announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee. 

The indictment alleges that on September 6, 2018, Durance mailed an envelope containing a white powder to the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction, Tony Parker.  The indictment also alleges that the envelope was sent through the U.S. Mail and contained a threatening letter, which caused a reasonable belief that the powder contained a biological agent or toxin, which would constitute a WMD.  The receipt of the envelope at the Tennessee Tower State Office Building in Nashville caused a disruption in services until the powder was determined to be an inert material.   

If convicted, Durance faces up to 10 years in prison for mailing a threatening communication and up to five years in prison for threatening to use a WMD.

This case was investigated by the FBI; the Tennessee Highway Patrol; the Tennessee Department of Correction; the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; and the Metropolitan Nashville Fire Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Levine is prosecuting the case. 

The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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Violent Crime
David Boling Public Information Officer 615-736-5956
Updated July 11, 2019