After this stunt, a Clackamas, Oregon, man probably shouldn’t count on invitations to future family gatherings, either.
Sonny Donnie Smith, 38, was mad at his relatives for telling him he was “not welcome” at a family wedding in 2016, according to court documents — and to retaliate against a pair of relatives who were going to the wedding, he went to extreme measures.
As Smith’s brother and father were traveling to the ceremony on Sept. 3, 2016, Smith made two phone calls from Portland, Oregon, court records indicate: One call was to security at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada. Another was to security at the Midland International Air and Space Port in Midland, Texas.
On the calls, Smith anonymously warned airport officials of two men who were terrorists, saying they would be flying through the airport that same day. Smith wouldn’t give his name or a phone number, according to court documents.
Law enforcement detained both his father and brother as a result, which was Smith’s intent, prosecutors said. Smith’s brother missed his flight to the wedding, court documents said.
But law enforcement quickly realized the alleged terrorists weren’t terrorists at all, prosecutors said, and were actually victims of a family feud gone off the rails.
Smith admitted to making both threatening phone calls, and pleaded guilty Thursday to making false threats of terrorism in U.S. District Court, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon.
“Today’s technology makes some believe they can anonymously create chaos to resolve personal grievances,” Renn Cannon, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, said in a statement following Smith’s guilty plea. “Thanks to the FBI agents and partner agencies who worked this case, Mr. Smith quickly found his harassment was far from anonymous.”
Smith will be sentenced May 10. He faces a up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the U.S. attorney.