Baldwin woman sentenced for cruise bomb hoax

Woman's claims led to bomb search aboard Carnival Fascination cruise

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Carnival Fascination approaches the cruise ship terminal at Blount Island.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Baldwin woman has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for falsely telling authorities that a bomb was aboard a cruise ship on its way to Jacksonville.

Linda Wilson, 41, was arrested Dec. 27 on a federal warrant by local law enforcement. She pleaded guilty on July 3.

According to court documents, on May 9, 2010, continuing into the early morning of May 10, 2010, Wilson made a series of phone calls from her home in Baldwin to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. In her last call to JSO, Wilson told authorities that a female terrorist carrying a bomb was on board a cruise ship that was scheduled to arrive at the Port of Jacksonville, and that the terrorist intended to explode the bomb prior to the cruise ship reaching the port, authorities said.

Based on information provided by Wilson, law enforcement identified the cruise ship as the Carnival Fascination. At the time of the call, the Fascination was returning from a Mother's Day cruise to the Caribbean. There were 2,404 passengers and 896 crew members on board.

Working with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, JSO, and port Security, crew members on the Fascination instituted ship-wide bomb search procedures.

Upon docking at the port, federal and local law enforcement officers boarded the cruise ship. Further searches were conducted and no explosive devices were found, authorities said.

An investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Federal Bureau of Investigation Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office determined that the information reported by Wilson was false.

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