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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 15, 2016

Two Navy Contractors Arrested for Separate Bomb Hoaxes

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Pettit (619) 546-7972

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY December 15, 2016

SAN DIEGO – Two Navy contractors were arrested and arraigned Wednesday on charges that in unrelated cases, they gave false information about bogus bomb threats that resulted in mass evacuations of Navy ships and the pier where they were docked.

Contractor Joshua Rice, 26, is charged in a grand jury indictment with reporting to Navy security personnel that he saw an inscription of the word “bomb” on the inside of a portable toilet near three Naval vessels docked at Naval Base San Diego on the morning of May 17, 2016, when he knew there was no true threat. The false report caused a security response, shutting down all work on the nearby ships and the pier.  At the time, Rice was working as a contractor for American Marine.

Roberto Rubio, 22, is charged in a separate indictment with writing “9-24-16 400 bomb” on an interior wall onboard USS Cowpens and reporting it to another contractor on September 24, 2016.  At the time, USS Cowpens was undergoing maintenance on the San Diego Ship Repair Facility, and Rubio’s false report also caused the anticipated security response, shutting down all work on the ship until it could be verified that there was no bomb.  At the time, he was working as a welder for Navy contractor BAE Systems.

For each bomb threat, there is a security response that includes clearing the area and stopping all work, which has a significant negative impact on all affected personnel and Navy readiness.

“Everyone should know that making false bomb threats is taken very seriously by federal law enforcement, and it is a felony offense,” said U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy. “This is not a legal or smart way of getting out of work.”

“The bomb threats on and around Naval Base San Diego since November 2015 have had a huge negative impact on the efficiency and productivity of the shipyard's efforts to maintain Navy readiness,” said Gunnar Newquist, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Southwest Field Office. “NCIS is appreciative of the tips received during the course of this ongoing investigation.”

Joshua Rice is scheduled to appear next on January 30, 2017, before Judge William Q. Hayes for a motion hearing and trial setting. 

Robert Rubio is scheduled to appear next on January 9, 2017, before Judge John A. Houston for a motion hearing and trial setting. 

DEFENDANT                                               Criminal Case No. 17CR2855-WQH

Joshua Rice                                                    Age: 26           San Diego, California

SUMMARY OF CHARGE

Count 1:Title 18, United States Code, Section 1038(a)(1): False Information and Hoaxes.

Maximum penalties: 5 years’ prison and a $250,000 fine.

DEFENDANT                                               Criminal Case No. 17CR2856-JAH

Robert Rubio                                                 Age: 22           San Diego, California

SUMMARY OF CHARGE

Count 1:Title 18, United States Code, Section 1038(a)(1): False Information and Hoaxes.

Maximum penalties: 5 years’ prison and a $250,000 fine.

INVESTIGATING AGENCY

Naval Criminal Investigative Service

*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

Press Release Number: 
CAS16-1215-Rice
Updated December 15, 2016