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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 9, 2018

Cambridge Man Arrested for Threatening Federal Agents Using Twitter

BOSTON – A Cambridge man was arrested and charged today in connection with tweeting a murder-for-hire solicitation to kill ICE agents for $500.

Brandon J. Ziobrowski, 33, of Cambridge, was charged in an indictment unsealed today with one count of use of interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat to injure another person. Ziobrowski was arrested this morning in New York and will appear in Boston at a later date.

According to court documents, in 2009 Ziobrowski created a Twitter account registered under the username @Vine_II. Over time, Ziobrowski’s tweets became more violent and threatening.  For instance, it is alleged that he repeatedly tweeted his desire to “slit” Senator John McCain’s throat. Then, beginning around February 2018, Ziobrowski allegedly began posting tweets that promoted violence against law enforcement. For example, a Feb. 24, 2018, tweet read: “Guns should only be legal for shooting the police like the second amendment intended.” 

In March 2018 Ziobrowski allegedly started tweeting threatening messages against federal law enforcement agents that work for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). On March 1, 2018, in response to a tweet from the ICE Field Office stating that ICE officers put their “lives on the line to arrest criminal aliens,” Ziobrowski posted a message that read: “Thank you ICE for putting your lives on the line and hopefully dying I guess so there’s less of you?”

On July 2, 2018, Ziobrowski allegedly tweeted: “I am broke but will scrounge and literally give $500 to anyone who kills an ice agent. @me seriously who else can pledge get in on this let’s make this work.”  It is alleged that Ziobrowski’s tweet was designed as a threat to encourage violence and the murder of federal law enforcement agents. At the time of the tweet, Ziobrowski had 448 Twitter followers.

The charge of use of interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat to injure another person provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston made the announcement today. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Boston and New York assisted with the investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann and Brian Perez-Daple of Lelling’s National Security Unit are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
National Security
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Updated August 9, 2018