New Jersey Teenager Sentenced for Making Bomb Threats to Sul Ross State University and the Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine
In Midland today, Senior United States District Judge Robert A. Junell sentenced a New Jersey teenager to time served followed by five years probation for making 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. United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist, El Paso Division, made the announcement today.
Nicholas Kyle Martino, age 17 of Sewell, Washington Township, NJ, was released following today’s hearing. He had been in federal custody since his arrest at his residence on December 1, 2016. During today’s hearing, Judge Junell referred the matter of restitution to United States Magistrate Judge David Fannin. A hearing to determine a restitution figure in this case is expected to occur in federal court in Alpine within the next 90 days.
In a hearing on February 15, 2017, Judge Junell granted Martino’s request 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 felony 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.
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) investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney James J. Miller, Jr., and Debra Kanof are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.