A Miami man has been charged with threatening to destroy tha South Florida Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building by fire or a bomb.
Morris R. Whitehead, 53, of Miami, is charged with willfully making a threat through the use of a telephone concerning an attempt to be made to unlawfully damage or destroy a building by means of fire or an explosive.
The charge is punishable by a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
The arrest was announced Tuesday by U.S. Attorney, Wifredo A. Ferrer, George L. Piro, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Miami Field Office, Melissa Chedotal, Special Agent in Charge, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and members of the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force.
According to the affidavit in support of a criminal complaint, Whitehead called the FBI’s Miami Field Office on April 20th, and indicated that the IRS Building in Miami, Florida should be evacuated within two hours because it was going to go up in smoke.
Whitehead was arrested later that same day and allegedly admitted to law enforcement officers that he had placed the threatening call.
“Threats to federal buildings are taken extremely seriously and we will continue to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law any attempts to disrupt the proper functioning of government and endanger the community,” Ferrer said.
Whitehead is scheduled to be arraigned on May 5.
Mr. Ferrer commended the outstanding investigative efforts of the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force, including the FBI, TIGTA, U.S. Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Protective Services, and City of Miami Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Adam Fels.
A complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.