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Gang member to spend seven years in prison due to social media posts

(Public Domain Photo)

PHOENIX — A gang member was sentenced to seven years in prison for making threats against the Salt River Police Department on social media.

Joseph Eschief, a 37-year-old documented gang member, used his social media platform to post pictures and videos depicting various members in the police force and asking fellow gang members to harm them.

“This is the first time we have seen a successful prosecution of someone using social media to make threats against police officers,” Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Public Information Officer Amanda Steele told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Steele said that the Safe Trails Task Force played a major role in bringing the entire case together.

“The task force worked in this particular case because it was on the Salt River Indian Reservation. This involved the FBI, the Mesa Police Department, the Salt River Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security,” Steele said.

For Eschief, there were particular warning signs that the task force was able to pin down to earn the conviction.

“Starting in about April of 2017 to about the middle of July of 2017, what this defendant was doing was taking to social media and posting messages that were directing other gang members to commit acts of violence,” Steele said.

“He was also putting posts online where he was showing photographs of different members of the Salt River Police Department.”

Eschief pled guilty to two counts of threatening and intimidating and one count of participating in a criminal street gang.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Amy Pholphiboun contributed to this report.

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