Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Feds Arrest W.Va. Man in New York City Bomb Hoax

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Feds Arrest W.Va. Man in New York City Bomb Hoax

Article excerpt

Federal authorities arrested a West Virginia man Wednesday for his alleged role in a bomb hoax at the Statue of Liberty earlier this year. Jason Paul Smith, 42, of Harts, was arrested in Lubbock, Texas, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorneys Office in the Southern District of New York.

More than 3,200 people were evacuated from Liberty Island in New York Harbor after an April bomb threat.

On April 24, according to a criminal complaint, Smith used a telephone service for the hearing impaired to call 911 in New York City. During the call, authorities allege, he identified himself as Abdul Yasin, described himself as an ISI terrorist and said he was preparing to blow up the Statue of Liberty.

In the criminal complaint, the FBI cites Smiths Facebook page, in which he says he studied at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind.

Smith faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Smith has a history of making threats, according to the criminal complaint. In 2001, he was convicted in Staunton, Virginia, the home of the school for the deaf and blind, of making written threats of death or bodily injury. In 2006, he was convicted in Staunton Circuit Court for threatening to bomb or burn buildings, making written death threats and of calling an ambulance or firefighters without cause.

The April call caused law enforcement with K-9 units to sweep the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island. The island was evacuated after K-9s found an area of interest near visitor lockers at the base of the statue, but the threat was later proved to be unfounded.

According to the criminal complaint, Smith used an iPad to access the telephone service from an IP address of a relative in West Virginia. The complaint says that at the time of the bomb threat, Smith was living at that address, citing his bank records, Facebook account, email address and updates to his iPad, all traced to that address.

Smiths iPad also made 18 calls to 911 from the address in West Virginia over the course of three days in late January of this year, according to the criminal complaint.

On June 11, Smiths iPad began receiving updates and connecting to apps through an IP address in Lubbock, Texas, the complaint states. …

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