Woman sentenced for cruise ship bomb hoax

Story highlights

  • Linda Gayle Wilson admits calling in a false report of a bomb on a cruise ship, authorities say
  • The Carnival Fascination was thoroughly searched and nothing was found
  • Wilson was arrested more than 19 months after the incident

A Florida woman involved in a lover's quarrel has been sentenced to a year in federal prison after admitting she called authorities to report explosives and a terrorist were aboard a passenger ship cruising into a U.S. port, authorities say.

According to court documents, Linda Gayle Wilson, 46, made a series of calls to the Jacksonville, Florida, Sheriff's Office on May 9, 2010, and told officers that a female terrorist was carrying a bomb on board the cruise ship entering Jacksonville's port. She said the terrorist planned to detonate the explosives before the ship reached its destination.

It was later discovered that a passenger on board had been involved in a relationship with Wilson's ex-boyfriend, the court said.

The calls were later traced to Wilson's residence, where authorities arrested her on December 27, 2011, the FBI said. Wilson pleaded guilty on July 3.

Based on the information provided by Wilson in the phone calls, authorities determined the ship to be the Carnival Fascination, which was returning to Jacksonville's JaxPort Cruise Terminal. The ship had just completed a Mother's Day cruise of the Caribbean.

The ship was met in the port by a bevy of local and federal officials. Agents from the FBI's Joint Task Force, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, along with port security officials and the ship's crew, searched for the terrorist and her bomb, a statement released by the FBI said.

According to court documents, every passenger and cabin on the ship was searched, but no evidence of explosives was found.

The ship had 2,404 passengers and 896 crew on board when Wilson made the bogus threat.

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