Three Individuals Indicted and Arrested for Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl and Cocaine and for Selling Machineguns
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico– On November 14, 2018, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against Carlos Rodríguez-Vidal, charging him for threatening to injure people and damage property by means of explosives using an instrumentality of interstate and foreign commerce, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 844(e), announced United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. The FBI is in charge of the investigation.
According to the information contained in a criminal complaint, between November 6 and November 8, 2018 Twitter user @SYROH10 posted various threatening messages directed toward CNN, a 24-hour cable news network that has physical premises in various places throughout the United States, including Miami, Florida. The following are among the threatening messages:
“I hate CNN I wish to explode them.”
“I hate you and I hope to see you when we explode CNN.”
“I hate you CNN, people of the United States we must take CNN off the air, put a bomb in all CNN office.”
“Bomb to CNN all over the country.”
“Put bomb at CNN we are United States and CNN is enemy and need to remove them from the air.”
“Soon CNN Miami office of CNN will get a gift.”
FBI agents first learned of these threats when a CNN employee reported them on November 7, 2018. Upon further investigation and a search warrant, on November 10 FBI agents arrested Rodríguez-Vidal at his residence in Cabo Rojo, PR.
“The defendant attempted to create fear within CNN, and was mimicking the individual who recently sent letter bombs to prominent current and former government officials,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “We commend the CNN employee who reported the threats to the FBI, and the agents who promptly investigated this matter. Federal authorities will continue to prosecute those who use social media to threaten, promote violence, or incite violent acts.”
“Any member of the public has the right to criticize whomever or whatever they want, publicly or privately. However, making threats of violence or encouraging others to commit acts of violence, through social media or other communications systems, is a serious crime and we are required to enforce this law diligently,” stated Douglas A. Leff, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, San Juan Division.
Assistant United States Attorney Alexander Alum is in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted, Rodríguez-Vidal faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a term of supervised release of up to three years, and a fine of up to $250,000.