Two inmates indicted for anthrax hoax threats in Florida

United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announced the return on Thursday of two separate indictments by a grand jury charging two Suwannee County, Florida-based inmates with sending hoax anthrax letters to sitting judges.

Randy C. Johnson and Johnell Ford, both inmates of the Florida Department of Corrections' Suwannee Correctional Institute, could face up to five years in federal prison if convicted. The federal prison sentences would run consecutively to the sentences the defendants are now serving in state custody.

According to the indictment charged against Ford, the 21-year-old inmate allegedly sent a substance purporting to be anthrax and a threatening letter to a sitting Florida circuit judge in Tampa.

According to Johnson's indictment, the 22-year-old inmate allegedly sent an envelope with a threatening letter and a substance purported to be anthrax to a sitting United States magistrate judge in Tampa.

Ford and Johnson were both inmates of the Suwannee Correctional Institute when they made the alleged hoax threats. The indictments are formal charges that each defendant committed a violation of the federal criminal laws. The indictments said that the defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

The cases were investigated by the Jacksonville Sherriff's Office, the Florida Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Mac D. Heavener, III will prosecute the cases.