Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Making Threatening Communications

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

BOSTON – A Florida man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Springfield to sending threatening communications to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Drummond Neil Smithson, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of use of interstate communications to transmit a threat to injure. U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni scheduled sentencing for Feb. 2, 2023 in federal court in Worcester. Smithson was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 12, 2022. 

On or about July 19, 2020, Smithson, an Army veteran, mailed a threatening communication from Ayer, Mass., to the Department of Veterans Affairs threatening to injure members of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots organization advocating for the end to gun violence. In the letter, Smithson threatened, among other things, “If you take my pension there is going to be retaliation,” and, “You take my pension and the second I get out of prison I will go to a Moms Demand Action meeting […] Try me.”

The charge of use of interstate communications to transmit a threat to injure provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General; Federal Bureau of Investigations, Miami Field Office; and Federal Medical Center, Devens, Special Investigations Section. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Noto of Rollins’ Worcester Branch Office is prosecuting the case.