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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 31, 2022

Olean Man Arrested, Charged With Making Interstate Threats

CONTACT: Barbara Burns   
PHONE:       (716) 843-5817 
FAX #:          (716) 551-3051  

BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Luke Marshall Wenke, 29, of Olean, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with making threats to injure another person in interstate commerce. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles M. Kruly and David J. Rudroff, who is handling the case, stated that according to the criminal complaint, on September 3, 2020, an acquaintance of Wenke’s in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was arrested and charged federally with conspiracy to provide material support and resources to Hamas. On September 22, 2020, Wenke began sending a series of threatening communications via email and telephone to Victim 1, an attorney representing the individual arrested. The complaint states that Wenke believes that Victim 1 is not appropriately representing the individual. In an email, on January 23, 2022, Wenke stated in part: “I will gladly take a steel chair to your face until I get what I want here. You don't respect me...but you will.” Wenke sent another email on January 24, 2022, which contained a photograph of Victim 1’s residence.

Wenke is being held pending a detention hearing today at 3:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr.

The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia and the Olean Police Department, under the direction of Chief Ron Richardson.     

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.  

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Updated January 31, 2022