South Florida Resident Charged Federally for Mosque Bomb Threat
Dustin Allen Hughes, 26, of Cutler Bay, Florida, has been arrested and charged with making a bomb threat to a South Florida mosque.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
Hughes was charged by criminal complaint with willfully making a bomb threat by telephone, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 844(e). If convicted of the charged offense, Hughes faces a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison. Hughes made an initial appearance today before Magistrate Judge Alicia O. Valle and will remain in custody pending the outcome of a pre-trial detention hearing scheduled for May 22, 2018, at 11:00 a.m., before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Ft. Lauderdale.
According to the criminal complaint, on May 5, 2018, at approximately 4:06 p.m., Hughes called the emergency contact number for the Jamaet Ul Muttaqueen Mosque of Pembroke Pines, Florida, and left a voice mail. In the voice mail message, Hughes stated, amongst other things: “I planted a bomb in your temple, I’m gonna blow your fucking temple up you fucking Muslim.. Where you guys have your sanctuary and worship Allah, I’m gonna blow that mother fucker up. I have a detonator [that Hughes stated he was going to activate]…[Y]ou guys are all gonna be up in flames after I’m done with you!” Within days of this call, three additional messages containing similar bomb threats were left by Hughes on the answering system for the Mosque’s non-emergency telephone number.
After retrieving the threating voice message, an official of the Mosque immediately contacted Pembroke Pines Police Department (PPPD), which subsequently responded to the Mosque and conducted an exterior and interior sweep for explosives. No presence of explosives were uncovered by the PPPD at or in vicinity of the Mosque.
On May 15, 2018, agents arrested Hughes at his residence in Miami-Dade County. During a post-arrest interview at the FBI’s field office in Miramar, Florida, agents played the May 5th voice mail message for Hughes. Hughes admitted placing that call and others to the Mosque that also were threatening in nature. Hughes also indicated that he had left the messages because he had wanted to make members of the Mosque scared and upset.
A criminal complaint merely contains allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Mr. Greenberg commended the outstanding investigative efforts of the FBI and members of the FBI Miami Area Corruption Task Force. He also thanked the Pembroke Pines Police Department, the Miami-Dade Police Department, and the City of Miami Police Department for their assistance. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Davis.