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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Former Mountain View Resident Christopher Doyon Apprehended In Mexico And Returned To The United States

Defendant Fled After Being Charged With Conspiracy Relating to a 2010 Distributed Denial of Service Attack Against Santa Cruz County Website

SAN JOSE -  Christopher Doyon appeared today in federal court to face an indictment charging him with failure to appear, announced Acting United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair.

According to the indictment filed in 2012, Doyon, 56, formerly of Mountain View and now a resident of Mexico City, Mexico, failed to appear at a February 2, 2012, status conference after being placed on pretrial release in a 2011 criminal case.  The status conference was set in case number 11-683 when Doyon was ordered to appear before United States District Judge Lowell D. Jensen in United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Doyon was indicted on September 21, 2011, for conspiracy to cause intentional damage to a protected computer and intentional damage to a protected computer, aiding and abetting.  According to the 2011 indictment, Doyon participated in a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against Santa Cruz County’s computer servers on Dec. 16, 2010, that caused Santa Cruz County’s website to go offline. A DDoS attack is an attempt to render computers unavailable to users by saturating the target computers or networks with external communication requests, thereby denying service to legitimate users. The indictment further alleges that the People’s Liberation Front (PLF) coordinated and executed the attack. The PLF is associated with other hacking groups such as Anonymous.

According to the 2011 indictment, the December 2010 DDoS attack was orchestrated as part of “Operation Peace Camp 2010” in retaliation for the enforcement of certain camping policies.  The City of Santa Cruz enacted Section 6.36.010 of its Municipal Code, entitled “Camping Prohibited,” which contained restrictions and definitions on camping within Santa Cruz City.  In response to the legislation, protesters occupied the Santa Cruz County Courthouse premises from approximately July 4, 2011 to Oct. 2, 2011. Law enforcement officers from Santa Cruz County disbanded the protest and several protesters were charged with misdemeanor crimes in Santa Cruz County.  In retribution for Santa Cruz City’s enforcement of Section 6.36.010 of the Municipal Code, and Santa Cruz County’s disbandment of the protest, the PLF coordinated and executed a DDoS attack against Santa Cruz County’s computer servers.   The County of Santa Cruz, Calif., maintained a website on the Internet allowing for access to the government’s entities and programs, including Emergency Services, Law Enforcement, the Courts, Social Services, Agricultural Extension, Employment, Surplus Sales, Vendor Registration, and Construction Projects and Proposals.  According to the 2011 indictment, as part of Operation Peace Camp 2010, Doyon and others allegedly conspired to intentionally damage the protected computers hosting the website for the County of Santa Cruz.  Doyon was arraigned on the conspiracy and intentional damage charges and was released pending trial.  Doyon then failed to appear for further court proceedings.

On June 11, 2021, Doyon was arrested by Mexican immigration authorities and deported to the United States.  On June 12, 2021, he was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Today he appeared before Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu and was detained pending further proceedings.  Defendant's next appearance is scheduled for June 15, 2021, before Magistrate Judge Ryu for arraignment and identification of counsel.             

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

With respect to the 2012 indictment, the maximum statutory penalty for failure to appear after pre-trial release, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 3146(a)(1), is two years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.  With respect to the 2011 indictment, the maximum statutory penalty for conspiracy to cause intentional damage to a protected computer in violation 18 U.S.C. § 1030(b) is five years’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate. The maximum statutory penalty for causing intentional damage to a protected computer and aiding and abetting in violation 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(5)(A), (c)(4)(A)(i)(I), (c)(4)(B)(i) & 2 is 10 years’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate.  In the case of both indictments, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

The San Jose Branch Office is handling is case.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the FBI Mexico City legal attache; the Cellular Analysis Survey Team Unit, CID;  Mexico City Task Force (which consists of agents from the Mexican Agencia de Investigación Criminal); Mexican State Police and Prosecutors in the State of Morelos (Fiscalia General del Estado de Morelos, Unidad Especializada Contra el Secuestro y Extorsión) and Mexican Immigration (Instituto Nacional de Migración); Interpol; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Mexico City Office; and United States Department of State, Office of American Citizen Services, Mexico City office.

Updated June 15, 2021