BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A federal grand jury has indicted an
18-year-old resident of Harlingen for making threats to damage federal and
religious buildings, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Joel Hayden Schrimsher is charged in a six-count
indictment, returned today, alleging he made threats through the internet to
damage or destroy buildings and conveyed false or misleading information
through the internet concerning those threats. He is expected to make his
initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald G. Morgan in Brownsville
later this week.
Schrimser is the second young adult facing federal
charges in less than a week related to making threats via social media
platforms. A Corpus Christi
19-year-old was charged Oct. 24 after he made threats on his Facebook account.
“Parents must talk with their kids about the
repercussions of making threats to schools and other public places,” said
Patrick. “Law enforcement responses are thorough, time consuming and take
finite resources to address.”
The indictment alleges Schrimsher made threats via his
Twitter account indicating he intended to mail a bomb to the Federal Reserve,
set a Mosque on fire and shoot at a Synagogue.
If convicted of making a threat to damage or destroy a
building through the use of an instrument of interstate or foreign commerce,
Schrimsher faces up to 10 years in federal prison, while conveying false or
misleading information carries up to a five-year-term of federal imprisonment.
Both charges could result in a $250,000 maximum possible fine.
FBI, Cameron County District Attorney’s Office, police departments in Harlingen
and Brownsville and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
conducted the investigation. Assistant U. S. Attorneys Jody Young and Oscar
Ponce are prosecuting the case.