For Immediate Release
Zephyrhills Man Pleads Guilty to Unlawfully Making a Destructive Device
Tampa, FL - United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that James John Hall (34, Zephyrhills) has pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully making a firearm (destructive device). Hall faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment. Hall has also agreed to forfeit the destructive device, which includes a pipe, Tannerite, pyrotechnic powder, and pyrotechnic fuse.
According to court documents, on November 1 and 2, 2022, Hall spoke on the phone 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. The man with whom Hall was communicating was a confidential informant with the Pasco Sherriff’s Office. The confidential informant reached out to the Pasco 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 an undercover Pasco Sheriff’s detective met with Hall, where the detective purchased the “pipe bomb.” 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 detective had a magnet on the bottom of it.
The suspected destructive device was then disassembled by ATF bomb technicians, revealing a metal pipe sealed at both ends with end caps and filled with suspected pyrotechnic powder, with suspected pyrotechnic fuse inserted into one of the end caps. The pipe was taped to suspected mixed explosive materials. Further analysis by the ATF concluded that the device was designed to function as a weapon and would be characterized as both an improvised explosive bomb and destructive device. ATF found no records for Hall in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record, indicating he was unlawfully in possession of the device.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Samantha Newman.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.