Peruvian man arrested for bomb threats targeting US schools, airports

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Police in Peru have arrested a man suspected of perpetrating a wave of bomb threats against US schools, synagogues, hospitals and airports, triggering evacuations, flight delays and other disruptions in five states this month, authorities said on Thursday.

Eddie Manuel Nunez Santos, 33, of Lima, Peru, is accused of making 150 bomb threats in all, some directed at Jewish institutions on the Rosh Hashanah holiday, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said in a press release.

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All the threats proved to be hoaxes, it said. A Department of Justice spokesperson said his motive in some cases was to get youths to send him sexually explicit photos, or he would set off bombs.

It was not immediately known whether Nunez Santos, who faced extradition to the United States under a federal indictment in New York City, had yet obtained legal representation.

The alleged threats, conveyed by email, were directed at supposed targets in New York City as well as in Alaska, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Arizona, officials said in the press statement.

One threat cited as an example by prosecutors read: “I placed multiple bombs in all of the schools from your School Districts. The bombs will blow up in a few hours. I’ll gladly smile when your families are crying because of your deaths.”

That message prompted the evacuation of 1,100 students from 20 schools in Pennsylvania, authorities said.

The alleged threats “caused an immediate mobilization by federal and state authorities, diverting critical law enforcement and public safety resources, and caused fear in hundreds of communities across this country,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in the statement.

The eight-page indictment charges Nunez Santos with two felony counts related to messages he is accused of sending to multiple recipients in New York - making threatening interstate communications and perpetrating a hoax. Each carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

He also was charged with attempted sexual exploitation of a child, attempted coercion and enticement of a minor and attempted receipt of child pornography. Those charges, for which he could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted, stem from his alleged attempt at persuading a 15-year-old girl in Westchester, New York, to send him sexually explicit photos.

The investigation was led by the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force. Authorities tracked Nunez Santos through his internet and telephone communications, according to the press statement.

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