A 47-year-old woman from Brookshire pleaded guilty recently to transportation of explosives with the intent to kill, injure and intimidate a person, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick along with Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI.
Julia Ann Poff admitted to mailing a package on or about Oct. 2-3, 2016, that contained a homemade bomb that was addressed to the former president of the United States. As part of her plea, she also acknowledged mailing two similar packages addressed to the Texas governor and the then Acting Social Security Administrator.
Each of those packages contained a victim-activated, booby-trapped, improvised explosive device (IED) containing explosives materials.
“This was a resource-intensive investigation that involved the safety of the Texas Governor, President of the United States and the Social Security Administration,” said Turner. “Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the threat that Poff posed and the fear she incited was serious and real. The FBI spots, assesses and mitigates threats daily. For the last three years, the men and women of the FBI Bryan Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and its partners worked relentlessly to bring Poff’s life-threatening actions to an end. This is what the FBI does every day to keep our community safe, whether you reside in a private home, the Governor’s House or the White House.”
The investigation revealed that on Oct. 6, 2016, authorities intercepted a U.S. Postal Service small, flat rate box at a White House mail handling facility at Bolling Air Force Base in the District of Columbia. They opened the package, and it appeared to contain a bomb.
An FBI explosives expert conducted an examination and determined it to be a homemade bomb. Further examination linked the box and its contents to Julia Poff or her husband. The outer box contained a taped address label, under which they found a feline hair. Testing revealed this hair was microscopically consistent with the hairs taken from a cat the Poff family cared for and owned.
Also, a box contained within the USPS box had a micro-USB cable box, cellular phone, hobby fuse, matches, paper wadding, plastic sacks, sandpaper and two 20-ounce coke bottle caps as well as pyrotechnics and smokeless powder.
Poff’s daughter identified the phone as her old cell phone which was last seen in their home’s garage in August or September 2016. Authorities also learned Poff used her bank debit card to purchase a micro-USB box with the same bar code as the one found in the USPS package.
Poff admitted she was solely responsible for sending the bomb-filled packages.
U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore accepted the plea and has set sentencing for Nov. 18, 2019. At that time, she faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 possible fine. She has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.
The Bryan FBI JTTF conducted the investigation with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Texas Rangers, Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Department of Agriculture – OIG. The Bryan Resident Agency JTTF is comprised of the FBI; sheriff’s offices in Brazos, Waller and Walker counties; police departments in Bryan, A&M University, and College Station; Secret Service; Texas Department of Criminal Justice – OIG and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ralph Imperato, Rob Jones, and Alamdar Hamdani are prosecuting the case.