A New Mexico woman has agreed to plead guilty to making a threat in May that caused the evacuation of a trappers’ association banquet, but has denied she mentioned a bomb and said the threat was made because her ex-boyfriend was in attendance, court documents say.
Dora Sandra Gomez, 64, also known as Bella Gomez, of Albuquerque, has entered a plea agreement with federal prosecutors filed on Nov. 19. She is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Missoula Dec. 15 to plead guilty to a charge of interstate communication of a threat.
Prosecutors originally charged Gomez with calling the Frontier Event Center in Dillon, which was hosting a banquet of the Montana Trappers Association on May 8, and making an anonymous bomb threat. She pleaded not guilty to the charge of issuing false information and hoaxes and was released last month pending trial.
No one was hurt and a bomb-sniffing dog cleared the facility. The banquet resumed the next day.
The FBI was able to trace the call to Gomez’s cellphone. She dialed *67 to block the dialing number from appearing on caller ID, court documents say.
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Under the plea agreement, Gomez will admit to calling the events center on a blocked number and issuing a threat that included a reference to trapping, but denies she mentioned a bomb or explosive device. According to court documents, the call was made because her ex-boyfriend was at the banquet.
“Gomez admitted to making the call to disrupt the MTA event because her ex-boyfriend was in attendance and she wanted to ruin his evening,” court documents state. “Although Gomez admitted to saying words to the effect of ‘people who hate trappers are coming and someone will get hurt,’ she adamantly denied ever using the words bomb or explosive device. The parties agree that Gomez intended to communicate a threat with her statement.”
Gomez’s attorney, Megan Moore of the Watson Law Office in Bozeman, declined to comment on the merits of the case citing the upcoming hearing, but said her client was not politically motivated.
“Dora is not a political person, she doesn’t have a political agenda,” Moore said.
The amended charge falls under a federal statute that does not include a bomb in the threat, but still carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Prosecutors will recommend a lower sentencing level under federal guidelines due to Gomez taking responsibility for the threat, court documents state.
In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors will recommend she be sentenced to probation of not more than five years rather than imprisonment. The agreement does not state a recommended fine or restitution.
Tom Kuglin is the deputy editor for the Lee Newspapers State Bureau. His coverage focuses on outdoors, recreation and natural resources.