PENSACOLA — A man has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison Tuesday after pleading guilty June 7 to mailing threatening communications and threatening use of a weapon of mass destruction.
The sentence for 30-year-old Craig T. Pope was announced by Christopher P. Canova, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. He will serve the federal sentence consecutive to a state sentence he currently is serving.
In April and May 2017, Pope, while serving the state prison sentence for crimes in Hillsborough County, sent two threatening letters from the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution in Milton to a Hillsborough County judge who presided over his plea and/or post-conviction matters.
According to a news release from Canova’s office, the first letter stated: “You have exactly 48 hours to get me back in court or someone in your courtroom will die and not only that, there will be an outbreak of anthrax in your courthouse who knows where I will send it first. ... Time is ticking.”
The second letter stated: “Here is a gift of anthrax and when you receive this letter you will have exactly 4 hours before the courthouse explodes. The bomb is already in place, your security is no match to my brotherhood. Today you will understand that America will never be as powerful as my ISIS Family.”
The letter contained a white powder, which triggered the Tampa Fire Rescue Hazardous Materials Response Team to respond to the courthouse and secure the evidence and potential weapon of mass destruction.
Testing eventually determined there was no bio-threat, but all security protocols had been initiated, according to the news release.
This case resulted from an investigation by the FBI, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Tampa Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Goldberg prosecuted the case.