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Press Release

Bremerton, Washington man indicted for three-month ‘swatting’ campaign that threatened victims across the USA and in Canada

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Made fake emergency calls and bomb threats to law enforcement, attempted to extort victims for explicit pictures and credit card information

Seattle – A 20-year-old Bremerton, Washington, man was arrested early today on an indictment charging him with ten federal felonies related to his illegal harassing activity – also known as “swatting.” Ashton Connor Garcia will make his initial appearance today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

“Every time Mr. Garcia is alleged to have made one of his false reports to law enforcement, he triggered a potentially deadly event – sending heavily armed police officers to an address where they mistakenly believed they would confront someone who was armed and dangerous,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the unpredictable and terrifying dynamic these calls created for Mr. Garcia’s alleged victims cannot be overstated. There is nothing funny about abusing emergency resources and intentionally placing people in harm’s way.”

“Fortunately, no one was hurt as law enforcement responded to Mr. Garcia’s swatting calls,” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “However, it is impossible to quantify the significant harm caused by his actions, which affected communities across the nation. Mr. Garcia will be held accountable for his actions, and we hope this also serves as an example of how serious the FBI, the US Attorney’s Office, state, and local law enforcement take these threats.”

According to the indictment, between June 2022 and early September 2022, Garcia made more than 20 swatting calls to law enforcement, targeting victims in California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. According to the indictment, Garcia gathered personal information about his victims, and then threatened his victims with harm, including placing swatting calls to send an armed police presence to their home. In some instances, he made swatting calls at the request of friends. Garcia demanded money, virtual currency, credit card information, or sexually explicit photos from some of the people he threatened.

Garcia used voice over internet technology to hide his identity. Using false identities, he made fake reports to non-emergency police numbers claiming things such as that he and others had planted explosive devices in particular locations. He falsely accused other individuals of committing crimes, such as murder, rape, and kidnapping, and he falsely claimed that these individuals possessed dangerous weapons, such as knives, firearms, and explosive devices. Frequently he used the same scripts claiming that his father was holding him hostage, false claims that he shot his parents, false claims that his father stabbed his mother, and false claims that his father had raped female members of the family.

The false reports tied up law enforcement resources that could have been used for actual emergencies. In some instances, law enforcement entered the victim residence with weapons drawn and detained people at the residence.

Garcia allegedly treated the swatting calls like entertainment. He broadcast his swatting calls via the internet platform Discord. Garcia allegedly told other Discord users that he considered himself a “cyber terrorist.”

Specifically, the indictment charges Garcia with these crimes:

  • Extortion – Ohio: On July 17, 2022, allegedly demanded credit card information or would injure the reputation of the victim, their family, would leak nude photos, and “swat them.”
  • Threats and Hoaxes -Ohio: On July 22, 2022, allegedly made a swatting call to the Shaker Heights Police Department falsely alleging his father was holding the family hostage with firearms and a hand grenade.
  • Threats and Hoaxes – Ohio: On July 28, 2022, allegedly called the Cleveland Police Department falsely claiming he had planted a bomb at the Fox News station in Cleveland.
  • Hoaxes regarding firearms – California: On July 29, 2022, allegedly called the Los Angeles Police Department falsely claiming his father was raping his sister, that his father had lots of guns and was both mentally ill and a drug addict.
  • Interstate threats – Kentucky: on July 30, 2022, allegedly called the Kentucky State Police threatening to kill named hostages.
  • Hoaxes regarding aircraft – California: on August 23, 2022, allegedly called the Los Angeles Police and claimed his daughter told him there was a bomb on her flight from Honolulu to LAX.
  • Extortion – New jersey: on August 24, 2022, allegedly attempted to obtain photographs and videos of a minor female’s body by threatening to accuse a family member of a crime and “swat” them.
  • Threats and hoaxes regarding explosives – Michigan: allegedly reported to the Milan Michigan Police Department that his father was holding him hostage with a gun and bomb.
  • Threats and hoaxes – Tennessee: on September 2, 2022, allegedly called the Milan, Tennessee Police Department alleging he was being held hostage by his father who had a gun and bomb.
  • Threats and hoaxes regarding explosives – California: allegedly called Los Angeles Police Department alleging he had stashed four pounds of C4 explosives at an airport in Los Angeles and would detonate it unless he was paid $200,000 in bitcoin.

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Threats and hoaxes involving explosives are punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Other charged threats and hoaxes are punishable by up to five years in prison. Extortion is punishable by up to two years in prison.

The case is being investigated by the FBI, with substantial assistance from numerous local law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and in Canada.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Manca.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated March 30, 2023