UNITED STATES NEWS

Man charged in 20-plus calls of false threats in US, Canada pleads guilty

Jan 26, 2024, 7:36 PM

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state man who made over 20 “swatting” calls around the country and in Canada, prompting emergency responses to his fake bombing, shooting and other threatening reports, pleaded guilty on Thursday to four crimes.

Ashton Garcia, 21, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to two counts of extortion and two counts of threats and hoaxes regarding explosives, U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said in a news release. He was initially charged with 10 felony counts.

Federal prosecutors say Garcia used voice-over-internet technology to conceal his identity during the calls in 2022 and 2023. He also urged others to listen as he broadcast them on the social media platform Discord.

Garcia in several cases collected personal information about his victims and threatened to send emergency responses to their homes unless they turned over money, credit card information or sexually explicit images.

Law enforcement responded and entered some of the homes with guns drawn and detained people inside, prosecutors said.

He also called in fake bomb scares for the Fox News station in Cleveland, Ohio, and for a flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles. In another instance, he threatened to bomb an airport in Los Angeles unless he received $200,000 in Bitcoin.

Such hoaxes can prove deadly. In 2017, a police officer in Wichita, Kansas, shot and killed a man while responding to a hoax emergency call.

The indictment does not indicate how investigators identified Garcia as a suspect. Prosecutors recommend that Garcia, of Bremerton, serve four years in prison as part of his plea agreement. His sentencing is scheduled for April.

Garcia placed the calls to agencies in Washington, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Edmonton, in Alberta, Canada, prosecutors said.

Garcia remains jailed at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, Washington.

United States News

FILE - Balloons are hoisted to the ceiling in the Forum ahead of the 2024 Republican National Conve...

Associated Press

When does a presumptive nominee become a nominee? Here’s how Donald Trump will make it official

WASHINGTON (AP) — Monday 12:01 AM Nearly 2,500 delegates are gathering in Milwaukee this week for a roll call vote to select a the Republican presidential nominee, formally ending the presidential primary. It will be a moment lacking in suspense: Former President Donald Trump has already been the presumptive nominee for months, having clinched a […]

57 minutes ago

Members of the Coalition to March on the RNC speak during a news conference ahead of the 2024 Repub...

Associated Press

GOP convention protests are on despite shooting at Trump rally

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Activists gathering in Milwaukee for the start of the Republican National Convention say the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump won’t affect their long-standing plans to demonstrate outside the convention site this week. A diverse range of organizations and activists is expected outside the downtown Fiserv Forum. The largest expected demonstration […]

58 minutes ago

FILE - Actor Clint Eastwood speaks to an empty chair while addressing delegates during the Republic...

Associated Press

Floor fights, boos and a too-long kiss. How the dramatic and the bizarre define convention history

WASHINGTON (AP) — In 1948, the Republican and Democratic parties did something unthinkable in today’s climate of ferocious political animosity: They not only held their national conventions in the same city, but shared some of the props. Both gathered in Philadelphia, largely because its Municipal Auditorium had already been fitted with the wiring needed for […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, ...

Associated Press

The RNC’s first day will still focus on the economy. Here’s what to know about Trump’s plans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump goes into the Republican National Convention with bold promises about the U.S. economy, but he has sketched out notably few details about how his plans would actually work. The convention’s first day is still expected to focus on the economy even after Saturday’s shooting at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Wayne LaPierre arrives at court, Jan. 24, 2024, in New York. The second phase of the civil t...

Associated Press

Second phase of NRA civil trial over nonprofit’s spending set to open in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — The second phase of the civil trial against the National Rifle Association and its top executives is set to begin Monday in Manhattan, with New York Attorney General Letitia James seeking an independent monitor to oversee the powerful gun rights group. The Democrat also is seeking to ban Wayne LaPierre, the […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares are mixed as China reports its economy grew 4.7% in last quarter

Asian shares began the week trading mixed as China reported that its economy expanded at a slower-than-forecast 4.7% annual pace in the last quarter. Markets seemed to take in stride a shooting at a rally for former President Donald Trumpin Butler, Pennsylvania that is being investigated as an attempted assassination of the presumptive Republican nominee. […]

1 hour ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Man charged in 20-plus calls of false threats in US, Canada pleads guilty