Navy Sailor Sentenced to 15 Months for Making Bomb Threats at Bases

Sailors standby for line-handling operations during a sea and anchor detail for the amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill on Oct. 29, 2017. A Norfolk, Va., sailor was sentenced to 15 months in jail for calling in bomb threats to various ships, including the Oak Hill. Jaq Renard/Navy
Sailors standby for line-handling operations during a sea and anchor detail for the amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill on Oct. 29, 2017. A Norfolk, Va., sailor was sentenced to 15 months in jail for calling in bomb threats to various ships, including the Oak Hill. Jaq Renard/Navy

NORFOLK -- A sailor responsible for multiple bomb threats last year to various ships and bases across Hampton Roads was sentenced on Thursday to 15 months in prison.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Allante Martanaze Arrington, 24, of Norfolk, pleaded guilty in November to one count of maliciously conveying false information.

According to court documents, Arrington, who enlisted in the Navy in 2014 and was most recently assigned to the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill, called in a series of threats Aug. 2 and Aug. 17 to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach and Naval Station Norfolk. Among other things, the boatswain's mate said there were bombs on the Oak Hill, the USS Gunston Hall and the USS Whidbey Island.

The Aug. 2 threats resulted in lockdowns and evacuations that affected ships and pier operations.

The Navy later said none of the bomb threats were credible.

Arrington, who enlisted in the Navy in 2014, masked his phone number during each call, court documents said. Caller ID showed them all as marked "private."

Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents were able to link Arrington to the calls with the help of Verizon Wireless, which handles Little Creek's phones, and T-Mobile, Arrington's carrier.

Verizon provided investigators 15 possible phone numbers, all of which were associated with T-Mobile.

In turn, T-Mobile provided information about the exact calls and that the caller used a special code to mask his identity.

The Navy later identified Arrington as the cellphone's owner. In an interview Aug. 17, Arrington acknowledged to NCIS he owned it.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David Layne asked for a sentence of up to 18 months. In court documents, he noted that while it appears Arrington had no "desire or capability" to carry out his threats, they still forced the government to expend considerable resources to investigate.

"If the facts of this case involved a single threatening call, on a single day, one could characterize the matter as a sailor simply acting out. Here, the Court is presented with a defendant calling-in upwards of 12 threats over two days, and with a motivation completely unknown," he said, arguing that Arrington's actions "suggest a troubling compulsion."

Assistant Federal Public Defender Keith Kimball requested one year house arrest and probation, calling the threats "an aberration in Mr. Arrington's otherwise law-abiding life." He said his client could face additional military charges going forward. And regardless, he said, his military career is likely over.

Family members described Arrington as kindhearted and generous, and just someone who puts others before himself, according to Kimball. He added that his client is a loving father to a two-year-old girl.

But, Kimball said, he isn't able to spend much time now with his daughter because Arrington and his wife separated following his client's arrest. He said Arrington's wife and daughter have moved back to Ohio.

"Mr. Arrington has learned his lesson," Kimball said in court documents. "And others who are considering this conduct -- and who are rational actors -- will certainly think twice when the prospect of federal prosecution is a reality."

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This article was written by Scott Daugherty from The Virginian-Pilot and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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