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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 15, 2020

El Paso Woman Charged by Federal Complaint with Posting Threatening Communications Online

In El Paso today, federal authorities filed a criminal complaint against 25–year-old Vanessa Tarrango for communicating a threat online, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Luis M. Quesada, El Paso Division.

The criminal complaint alleges that on May 13, 2020, Tarrango posted the following on Facebook:

“For the past years or so theres been Walmart shootin that jst keep getting funnuer n funnier immab the nxt one to shoot up Walmart n hopefully one of these x or even my bd will be there Cruel yes but idc more”.

The complaint further alleges that Tarrango responded to posted comments by stating:

“lmao bitch they act like imam take time out of my day too shoot these dumb ppl idc or heard of im not gunna get a charge for ppl idk”. “Or maybe only time will tell fukk it”.

According to the complaint, Tarrango then followed up by tagging a Facebook user in a post stating:

“Hoe got scared n reported it shell be the first one I shoot.”

She also responded to another Facebook user’s response with:

“Idc dude fr they can kiss my ass in jail n ill send them letters sayin there nxt”.

The complaint also alleges that Tarrango posted the threats in response to the arrest this week of a friend.  On Monday, Alex Barron was arrested on federal firearms charges in connection with an investigation into the alleged posting on a social media application of a photograph of an AR-15 style rifle with a caption stating “…#watchoutwalmartimcoming #droplikeflys…”.

Upon conviction, Tarrango faces up to five years in federal prison.  She remains in custody at this time.  Her initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge is expected to occur next week.

“Once again our community stepped up in order to protect itself. It takes the help of the entire community and the resources from law enforcement to keep our fellow citizens safe from harm. We thank you,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Luis Quesada. “A threat will be taken seriously. It is not a joke; it is a federal crime. Think before you post on social media.”

The FBI, El Paso Police Department and the Socorro Police Department are investigating this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian Hanna is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

A criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated May 15, 2020