Many of the worst hardened criminals live their lives behind the walls of Florence ADX, located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
From the Boston bomber to Al-Qaeda members, here are some of ADX’s worst criminals.
Robert P. Hanssen – Soviet Spy/Former FBI Agent
Former-FBI-agent-turned-Soviet-spy Robert Hanssen was sentenced to 15 consecutive life sentences after making roughly $1.4million by selling US information to Russia.
He served 25 years in the FBI from 1976 to 2001 and sold thousands of documents.
He pleaded guilty to 14 counts of espionage and one count of committed espionage.
Hanssen’s crime was considered ‘possibly the worst intelligence disaster in US history,’ according to Denver Mile High Magazine.
Ramzi Ahmed Yousef – World Trade Center Bomber
Yousef was one of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. He was sentenced to life in prison, plus 240 years.
A 1,300-pound nitrate-hydrogen gas bomb was detonated in the north parking garage of the WTC on February 26, 1993. The bomb killed six people and injured thousands of others.
He was apprehended until 1995 after he fled to Pakistan. He told the court he was ‘proud’ to be a terrorist.
Only six bombers, including Yousef, were caught. Abdul Rahman Yasin still remains at large.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab – Underwear Bomber
Abdulmutallab was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for attempting to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day in 2009.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries; attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; willfully placing a destructive device on an aircraft, which was likely to have endangered the safety of the aircraft; attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction; willfully attempting to destroy and wreck a civil aircraft; and three counts of possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence.
His plan was foiled after the bomb only caught fire instead of exploded. He was arrested on board.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – Boston Bomber
Tsarnaev was sentenced to life in prison after he and his brother set off bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
The bombs killed three people and injured more than 250.
He was found guilty of 30 charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction, and was sentenced to death by lethal injection. His lethal injection was reversed in July 2020, but reinstated in March 2022.
Mamdouh Mahmud Salim – Al-Qaeda’s Co-founder
Salim is serving a life sentence at the prison.
He was arrested in Germany in 1998 for his connections to the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
He was originally sentenced to 32 years, but his sentenced was extended to life without parole after he stabbed a prison guard in 2010.
Richard C. Reid – Al-Qaeda Member
Reid, a British ISIS member is serving three-consecutive sentences, plus 110 years, and is now the reason airplane passengers have to take their shoes off while going through security.
In 2001, he shoved explosives in his shoes boarded an American Airlines flight heading from Paris to Miami. Unfortunate for him, the bombs never went off and he was arrested after an emergency landing at Logan International Airport in Boston.
El Chapo – Mexican Drug Lord
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was sentenced to life in prison, plus 30 years, for his international drug distribution ring.
He was transferred to ADX in 2019 after repeatedly escaping Mexican prisons. In 2001, he was smuggled out of a Mexican prison in a laundry basket and in 2015, he escaped through a hatch in the shower.
He was sent to ADX, as it is known as an inescapable prison.
Terry Nichols – Oklahoma City Bomber
Nichols was sentenced to 161 consecutive life sentences after he and his friend Timothy J. McVeigh killed 168 people with their bombs at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995.
The attack was the largest killing in the US before September 11, 2001.
Nichols was hundreds of miles away the day of the bombing at his house in Kansas and turned himself in two days later after he found out he was a person of interest.
On May 10, 1995, he was charged with the crime. Nichols was found to be a part of key points in the plan, including renting storage lockers and stealing 299 sticks of explosive, 544 blasting caps, and a detonating cord.
Fingerprint evidence linked Nichols and McVeigh together.
In 1998, he was sentenced to life in prison and was spared the death penalty.
McVeigh died from lethal injection at USP Terre Haute in 2001.
Ted John Kaczynski – Unabomber
Although Kaczynski is no longer at the facility, after recently being moved to a medical prison in North Carolina, he was sentenced to multiple life sentences.
The highly-educated criminal began his reign of terror in May 1978 and continued until April 1995.
The mathematics prodigy gained notoriety for his manifesto – which was published in full in the Washington Post and The New York Times in 1995 – sent a series of bombs in the mail over 17 years that killed three people and injured 23.
He now resides at FMC Butner, which is known for treating inmates with significant health problems.
Vincent Basciano – Mob Boss
Mob boss Vincent Basciano also enjoyed the facility from 2011 to 2015 in H-Unit, until he was transferred out of the facility. It is unclear where he was transferred, but he was taken to a less restrictive prison.