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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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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Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Contact: 
David Boling Public Information Officer 615-736-5956 david.boling2@usdoj.gov
Updated July 11, 2019