NC jail bomb plot foiled when plans are sent to wrong address

Crime & Safety

Three men are facing felony conspiracy charges after their plan to blow up North Carolina’s Alamance County Detention Center was foiled because a letter and drawings describing the alleged plot was sent to the wrong address.

“This is a very, very serious case,” Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said.

The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office said Sean Castornia, 43, of Graham, was the “mastermind” of the plan and conspired with Shannon Gurkin, 23, of Graham, and Dakota Marek, 24, of Burlington, to develop a bomb while they were in custody together at the jail at one point in time.

“Mr. Castorina, while in the Alamance County Jail with two other inmates, solicited them to assist in building a bomb with his directions and planting the bomb and setting it off at the Alamance County Detention Center south wall,” Johnson said.

After Gurkin and Marek were released from jail, Castorina, who remained in custody on first-degree murder charges related to the death of an 84-year-old man, allegedly sent letters and made phone calls to them about how to build a bomb, where to get supplies and where to plant it.

Johnson said Castornia intended to use the bomb to blow a hole in the jail’s wall to allow him to escape custody and then leave the country.

But the plot was foiled after Castornia mistakenly mailed information about the attack to a wrong address earlier this month.

“That individual opened that letter, not realizing it was not destined for them, and that letter contained a detailed drawing of the Alamance County Detention Center and the surrounding buildings,” Johnson said. “Certainly, that letter was an important factor in going wide-open on this investigation.”

An investigation was launched Dec. 6 after the person who received the letter brought it to the Sheriff’s Office. Johnson said that if the plan had been carried out, it would have harmed dozens.

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