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Zephyrhills Man Faces Decades Behind Bars for Possessing Explosive Material

PASCO – A Zephyrhills man is charged in connection with a making and distributing explosive materials and could face multiple years behind bars.

In a statement released by the U.S. State Attorney's Office, on November 1 and 2, 2022, 34-year-old John James Hall conducted telephone communications with a man to whom he had sold firearms in the past. In these conversations Hall offered to sell the man a "pipe bomb" that Hall had built. Hall shared with the man that he had contemplated using the "pipe bomb" to target an individual with whom he was angry. Hall was unaware that the man he was communicating with was a confidential informant with the Pasco Sheriff's Office. The informant reached out to the sheriff's office, who then coordinated further investigation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Later in the evening on November 2, the confidential informant and a Pasco Sheriff's detective (acting undercover) met with Hall, where the detective purchased the "pipe bomb" as well as a Glock 17 pistol Hall offered to sell him. When asked about future purchases, Hall indicated he "had enough to build six more now." Hall also indicated that the device he was selling to the undercover detective had a magnet on the bottom because it was "meant for somebody else."

The suspected destructive device was then disassembled by ATF bomb technicians. The disassembly and examination of the device revealed a metal pipe that was sealed at both ends (with end caps) and filled with suspected pyrotechnic powder, with a suspected pyrotechnic fuse inserted into one of the end caps. The pipe was taped to suspected mixed explosive materials. ATF found no records for Hall in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record, indicating he was unlawfully in possession of the device.

U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg says Hall is charged with one count of unlicensed distribution of explosive materials, one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device, and one count of unlawful making of a destructive device. If convicted, Hall faces up to 10 years in federal prison on each count.


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