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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Prison Inmate Pleads Guilty to Threatening to Kill President of the United States

BOSTON – A former inmate at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater, Mass., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to threatening to kill the President of the United States.

Alex Hernandez, 32, of Worcester, currently serving time on state charges at MCI-Shirley, pleaded guilty to one count of threatening to kill and inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States. U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani scheduled sentencing for July 24, 2017.

In March 2015, federal agents learned that Hernandez, imprisoned at the time at Old Colony Correctional Center, told another inmate who was working as a cooperating witness in the investigation, that he was upset about the way his people were being treated and wanted to kill the President.  Hernandez expressed an interest in obtaining false travel documents so he could flee the country after his attack. 

Based on these statements, agents decided to introduce Hernandez to an undercover agent posing as an embassy contact who could assist Hernandez with obtaining false travel documents. 

On Dec. 22 2015 and Feb. 12, 2016, the undercover agent met with Hernandez at Old Colony Correctional Center. During the first meeting, Hernandez stated that he wanted to attack, “the house with the big people there.”  The agent inquired whether Hernandez meant the White House, and Hernandez said he did.  When asked for additional details about his plan, Hernandez explained, “there is always a head.  He’s the one who’s always in charge.  So if you attack the head, everything will go down a little bit.” He also stated that he was studying how to make explosives that could be placed around government buildings to “create chaos.”  During the second meeting with the undercover agent, Hernandez discussed the motivation for his planned attacks – telling the agent that his brothers are “fighting to uphold the laws and structure of the caliphate in the Middle East” and that “this government . . . is painting it like they are the bad guys[.]” Hernandez also explained that he wanted to target the President because “he’s the one that gives the orders[.]”   

The charging statute provides 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.

Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Stephen A. Marks, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service's Boston Field Office; and Thomas Turco, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordi de Llano of Weinreb’s Criminal Division is prosecuting the case.

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Updated May 17, 2017