In Midland, a New Jersey minor waived adult certification and pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with bomb threats to Sul Ross State University (SRSU) and the Big Bend Regional Medical Center (BBRMC) in Alpine as well as threats to a former State Representative last September announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist, El Paso Division.
This afternoon, U.S. District Judge Robert A. Junell granted a request by 17–year-old Nicholas Kyle Martino of Sewell, Washington Township, NJ, to be prosecuted as an adult in federal court. Afterwards, Martino appeared before United States Magistrate Judge David Counts and entered guilty pleas to four counts of interstate threats to injure persons.
Information provided in court revealed that Martino engaged in “SWATing” schemes. “SWATing” is the term commonly used to describe an act of tricking law enforcement or first responders into dispatching emergency resources based on a hoax threat.
Martino admitted to making two phone calls to the Brewster County Sheriff’s Office on September 8, 2016, and making a hoax bomb threat to SRSU. Approximately two hours later, Martino followed up with a phone call to the BBRMC threatening to kill everyone in the hospital. Those malicious communications occurred on the same day law enforcement and first responders were responding to an active shooter at the Alpine High School wherein one student received a non-life threatening gunshot wound and the shooter committed suicide.
Martino also admitted to communicating threats via Twitter on September 10, 2016, to kill former Texas State Representative Pete Gallego and his family as well as another threat to bomb SRSU.
Each charge calls for up to five years in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 10, 2017, before Judge Junell. Martino has remained in federal custody since his arrest at his residence on December 1, 2016.
This investigation was conducted by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Midland, Philadelphia (PA), Eau Clare (WI), Nashville (TN), and Seattle (WA); Brewster County Sheriff’s Office; Washington Township Police Department (NJ); Menomonie Police Department (WI); Halifax Regional Police (Nova Scotia, Canada); Wake Forest Police Department (NC); Volusia County Sheriff’s Department (FL); Clermont County Sheriff’s Department (OH); and, the Union Township Police Department (OH). Assistant United States Attorney James J. Miller, Jr., and Debra Kanof are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.