Man Sentenced to 160 Years for Plot to Bomb Chicago Courthouse

  • January 23, 2006

A convicted counterfeiter has been sentenced to 160 years in prison for plotting to blow up a federal courthouse in downtown Chicago.

Gale Nettles, 66, was sentenced to eight consecutive 20-year sentences on January 12, 2006, for plotting to blow up the Everett M. Dirksen federal courthouse and for making fake $20 and $100 bills.

FBI agents began investigating the Tennessee native while he was serving time in a Mississippi federal prison for counterfeiting.  According to authorities, Nettles told another inmate that he intended to get revenge against the government upon his release by driving a truck filled with ammonium nitrate into the courthouse’s underground garage.

After his October 2003 release, undercover agents sold Nettles an organic compound resembling ammonium nitrate (it would not have exploded the way Nettles planned).  He then resold some of the substance to another undercover agent he believed was a member of an Islamic terrorist group.

A day before his arrest in August 2004, Nettles reportedly stashed 500 pounds of fertilizer in an area storage facility; he planned to mix it with fuel to create a bomb of the type that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, prosecutors said.

In addition to counterfeiting, Nettles’ criminal history includes burglary and attempted murder.

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