KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to making a hoax telephone call with a false threat to contaminate the public water supplies of Kansas City, Mo., St. Louis, Mo., Wichita, Kan., and Topeka, Kan.
Manuel Garcia, 70, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to the charge contained in a Nov. 15, 2013, federal indictment.
By pleading guilty today, Garcia admitted that he made three threatening telephone calls in October 2013 in which he claimed there was a threat to contaminate the public water supply of Kansas City, St. Louis, Wichita and Topeka. Garcia admitted that he knew the threats were false when he made the calls, and that the threats were conveyed in a way that it was reasonable to believe the information.
Garcia called the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department 9-1-1 Emergency Tips Hotline on Oct. 15, 2013. Garcia claimed that the water supplies of Kansas City, St. Louis, Wichita, and Topeka, Kansas would be contaminated in the next 10-15 days with an unknown substance contained in four 55-gallon tanks. The 9-1-1 operator asked Garcia to identify himself and Garcia hung up. On the same day, Garcia called the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Joint Support Operations Center in Washington, D.C., with the same threat. Garcia called the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department 9-1-1 Emergency Tips Hotline again on Oct. 22, 2013.
An FBI agent recognized Garcia’s voice from a previous case in which Garcia pleaded guilty to making threats by telephone and placing a hoax explosive device outside the federal courthouse. Garcia was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison in that prior case. Garcia’s residence at a transition house was close to the exact location the cellular tower system identified as the vicinity from which one of the calls originated.
Under federal statutes, Garcia is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Casey. It was investigated by the FBI.