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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
Roger B. Handberg, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 20, 2023

Zephyrhills Man Sentenced to 27 Months for Unlawful Making of a Firearm

Tampa, FL - U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven has sentenced James John Hall (34, Zephyrhills) to two years and three months in federal prison for unlawfully making a firearm. Hall had pleaded guilty on April 3, 2023.

According to court documents, on November 1 and 2, 2022, Hall spoke by phone with a man to whom he had sold firearms in the past. During these conversations, Hall offered to sell the man a “pipe bomb” that he had built. Hall told the man that he had contemplated using the “pipe bomb” to target an individual with whom he was angry. The man who Hall was communicating with was a confidential informant (CI) with the Pasco Sherriff’s Office. The CI reached out to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office who then coordinated further with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Later in the evening on November 2, the CI and an undercover detective from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office met with Hall, where the undercover detective purchased the “pipe bomb.” When asked about future purchases, Hall indicated that he “had enough to build six more now.”

The suspected destructive device was then disassembled by ATF special agent bomb technicians. The materials were then sent to ATF laboratories for additional analysis where a senior explosives enforcement officer examined the device and concluded that it was designed to function as a weapon and would be characterized as both an improvised explosive bomb and destructive device.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. It was 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.


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