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Thursday, June 13, 2024


Sept. 18, 2001 — The 28-year-old man accused of calling in a bomb threat to the Hovensa refinery a day after terrorist attacks on the mainland had actually worked for a subcontractor at the giant facility for a month.
Norman Rampersad Jr. appeared at an advice-of-rights hearing in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, a day after he was arrested by FBI agents for allegedly making a threatening phone call on Sept. 12 to Bechtel Corp., a Hovensa subcontractor. The call forced the refinery to shut down while a search was made for an explosive device.
Rampersad told U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Resnick that he had worked for Bechtel making $12.89 an hour for a month, but gave no reason why he made the alleged call.
Neither Assistant U.S. Attorney David Nissman nor the FBI said how Rampersad was identified as the caller. But as part of his bail conditions, Resnick ordered Rampersad to give up his cellular phone. Calls made from cellular phones can be tracked by triangulating the location of the base station and antenna nearest to the caller.
Resnick meanwhile, set bond at $25,000, but let Rampersad out on $2,000 bail. He will be in the third-party custody of his sister. Rampersad is not allowed to possess any type of weapon or make contact with Hovensa or any of its contractors.
"No phone calls with those companies whatsoever," Resnick said. "None. Period."
Resnick also ordered Rampersad to log all his calls, including the time, date, who he calls and for how long the call lasts until his trial, which has yet to be scheduled.
Rampersad was arrested for, among other things, maliciously conveying false information to damage and destroy real and personal property and to injure others by means of fire or explosion. He faces a maximum of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Rampersad was also charged with transmission of threatening communication in interstate commerce to injure another person, which carries a maximum of five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

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