Man indicted for allegedly e-mailing bomb threats to airport

No bombs or explosives were found at the airport, according to the Department of Justice.

An American man living in Mexico has been indicted for allegedly e-mailing in bomb threats to an airport in Texas.

A grand jury in McAllen, Texas handed down the indictment against Juan Rodrigo Rodriguez, 19, now from Reynosa, Mexico. He is facing two counts of providing false and misleading information in connection with the threats.

No bombs or explosives were found at the airport, according to the Department of Justice.

Rodriguez, who was arrested and jailed on Oct. 30, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a US$250,000 fine for each count.

According to an affidavit, four different bomb threats were sent to the McAllen Miller International Airport online message board. Two of the threats, which were written in Spanish, were sent on August 22, and the other two were sent September 7 and September 10. All four threats were emailed in and used fake return email addresses.

The DOJ reported that some of the threats claimed that C-4 explosives were planted inside the airport or in a vehicle that was parked in a lot near the airport. Other threats noted that bombs were on board inbound and outbound Continental Airlines flights.

The DOJ contends that in the threat sent on September 7, Rodriguez demanded that airport workers deliver US$20,000 to the reception desk area of a Holiday Inn hotel, but no one approached the hotel's reception desk to claim the money.

The FBI and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) both worked on the investigation, which reportedly traced the threatening emails to an IP address in Reynosa. The government alleged that on September 22, investigators pinpointed the computer that sent out the threats. The machine, they claim, was at Rodriguez' home, and further investigations allegedly found evidence that it was used to access the airport's Web site, along with the Web site for Continental Airlines.

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld

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