for immediate release
October 29, 2001

N E W S   R E L E A S E

In response to numerous rumors and citizen inquiries concerning Halloween, the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office reminds all citizens of strict federal and state laws dealing with "Product Tampering" and "Hoax Weapons of Mass Destruction."

Sheriff Charlie Morris is issuing a stern warning to any would-be pranksters: "On Halloween or any other day, spreading terror is not a joke. It is a serious matter, and we will deal with it to the fullest extent of the law."

Federal Law provides a fine of $25,000 for attempted tampering with candy or other food, drug or cosmetic products... up to a $100,000 fine and life imprisonment where tampering leads to death.

Under Florida law, chemical and biological agents are defined as "Weapons of Mass Destruction." Persons who place any hoax or simulated chemical biological agent are committing a Felony of the Second Degree, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison term of up to 15 years.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office will aggressively investigate and assist in prosecution of any product tampering or hoax biological agent cases within its jurisdiction. Citizens may help by making sure Trick-or-Treaters are accompanied at all times by a responsible adult, who closely checks candy and other treats at each house visited. If any suspicious items are encountered, the adult should immediately identify and report the source.

Additional Halloween safety tips may be found at


for more information contact Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420