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Northern District of Ohio

Sep 20, 2023Sep 20, 2023

CLEVELAND – Andrew F. Dodson, 33, of Mogadore, Ohio, was sentenced today to more than four years – or 55 months – in prison by U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent. Judge Nugent pronounced the sentence after Dodson was convicted by a federal jury on July 27, 2022, of obstructing justice by retaliating against a witness.

"Threatening a witness is a serious offense and, as evident by this sentence, it is a crime that can lead to significant time in a federal prison," said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michell M. Baeppler. "Ensuring the safety of federal witnesses is a critical part of the mission of the Justice Department."

"The FBI is committed to safeguarding witnesses upholding their civic responsibility. Today's sentence serves as a message to others who believe they can skirt the law and subvert the judicial process without implication," said FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Gregory Nelsen.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, in July 2021, federal authorities began an investigation into Dodson following his arrest for OVI and possession of chemicals that could be used to make explosive devices. During the arrest and the impounding of his vehicle, court documents state that authorities discovered a large cache of explosive precursors and a black tactical bag with the words "POLICE" on it containing ear protection and safety glasses.

Authorities later obtained records that showed Dodson had purchased approximately 50 pounds of explosive materials. Court documents state that Dodson claimed that these materials were used to make smoke bombs.

During the investigation, federal authorities obtained records that showed Dodson engaged in online conversations with others, including one conversation in which he stated that "people call me the Unabomber." Dodson also sent a user a photograph of 157 improvised explosive devices, screenshots of a remote detonator and 12 radio antenna devices. Court documents state that Dodson told other users in online conversations that he had improvised explosive devices that contained approximately 1,000 BBs per device and later tried to sell users body armor and a flamethrower.

On August 4, 2021, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Dodson's Mogadore area residence and seized various items, including a tactical vest, a firearm, ammunition and a black flame thrower. Authorities also searched a storage unit in Akron belonging to Dodson and seized several gas masks, a shirt with a swastika, a detonator with the remote, a box of pyrotechnic signal shells, fusing with safety igniters and a bag of pyrotechnic fuses. Dodson was later arrested.

During the investigation, court documents state that it was determined that Dodson had lied to federal authorities, and he subsequently pleaded guilty in October 2021 to making false statements to an agency of the United States.

Court records show that Dodson was allowed to remain on bond and in the community following his guilty plea. During this time, Dodson came into possession of a witness statement given to federal authorities during the prior investigation. Court records state that Dodson then contacted and threatened the witness with the intent to retaliate due to the witness's cooperation.

Dodson's sentence of 55 months will be served consecutive to his previous sentence of 8 months for making false statements.

This case was investigated by the Cleveland FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian S. Deckert and Jason W. White.

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