Home San Antonio Press Releases 2010 Austin-Area Man Sentenced in Cyanide Hoax Case

Austin-Area Man Sentenced in Cyanide Hoax Case

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 01, 2010
  • Western District of Texas (210) 384-7100

United States Attorney John E. Murphy announced that in Austin, 24-year-old Gary Dale Horton, II, of Jonestown, Texas, was sentenced to two years in federal prison in connection with an cyanide hoax in May 2010.

In addition, United States District Judge Sam Sparks ordered that Horton reimburse Williamson County law enforcement $12,600, pay a $7,778.32 fine and be placed under supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.

According to court records, on May 22, 2010, while in state custody in Williamson County, Horton provided false information to special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the possession, receipt, and transfer of a 25-pound load of cyanide. Horton told agents that he acquired the cyanide in 2009 from an individual who wanted to get rid of it. Horton also mentioned to agents that a friend, who had been storing the cyanide for approximately a year, was attempting to broker a deal for the cyanide with someone Horton described as paranoid and hated the government. Upon receiving this information, FBI agents mobilized significant resources to address the possible existence and/or transfer of a large quantity of cyanide. Three days later, Horton admitted to investigators that he fabricated the entire cyanide story.

On August 4, 2010, Horton pleaded guilty to one count of false information and hoaxes.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation together with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office. In addition, other agencies who responded during the search for the purported cyanide include: Williamson County Hazardous Materials Response Team, Georgetown Police Department, Austin Police Department Bomb Squad, and the Texas National Guard 6th Civilian Support Team. Assistant United States Attorney Gregg Sofer prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

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