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Press Release

Cell Tower Arsonist Pleads Guilty to Eight Counts in San Antonio

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man pleaded guilty in federal court in San Antonio on Thursday to eight charges in two indictments related to arson and felon in possession of a firearm.

According to court documents, Sean Aaron Smith, 29, maliciously attempted to damage and destroy, by means of fire, multiple cellular telephone towers around San Antonio between April 2021 and May 2022.

Smith was arrested in a traffic stop on May 13, 2022.  During the traffic stop, law enforcement officers located a handgun on the floorboard in front of the driver’s seat.  Executing a search warrant for Smith’s apartment on May 15, 2022, investigators found additional firearms.  Smith knowingly possessed the firearms after being previously convicted of two felony crimes where he served more than a year imprisonment on each.  

Smith pleaded guilty to six counts of arson of cellphone towers and two counts of felon in possession of a firearm. He faces a penalty of five to 20 years in prison for each charge related to arson, and up to 10 years in prison for each firearm possession charge. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Oliver E. Rich Jr. for the FBI San Antonio Division made the announcement.

The San Antonio Fire Department Arson squad, FBI, San Antonio Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, and Texas Rangers are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Roomberg is prosecuting the case.


Updated August 18, 2023

Firearms Offenses