A man in Washington State has pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from several hoax calls he made to law enforcement agencies in which he falsely reported bombs, shootings and other threats that sometimes led police officers to enter victims’ homes with their weapons drawn, prosecutors said.
The man, Ashton Connor Garcia, 21, pleaded guilty to two counts of extortion and two counts of threats and hoaxes regarding explosives, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.
From June 2022 through March 2023, Mr. Garcia made 20 “swatting” calls to police in several states and Canada, according to court records.
Mr. Garcia, who described himself as a “cyberterrorist,” would often broadcast these calls on the social platform Discord to “encourage others to watch and participate,” according to the plea agreement.
Mr. Garcia treated swatting calls, so named for the deployment of police SWAT teams in response to hoaxes, “like entertainment,” an indictment in March 2023 said.
In Mr. Garcia’s calls to law enforcement, he often relied on similar scripts, characterizing himself as the victim of or a witness to domestic violence involving guns and rape.