New York: A man was arrested in Peru after U.S. officials say he sent 150 bomb threats to U.S. school districts, synagogues, airports, hospitals and to a mall last month, according to Department of Justice officials.
Investigators said Eddie Manuel Nunez Santos of Lima, Peru, approached young girls on an unnamed gaming platform posing as a teenage boy named “Lucas” and requested they send him sexually explicit photographs of themselves. Court documents allege when the girls refused, he threatened to kill them, blow up their schools and made other threats in an attempt to extort the child sexual abuse material from them.
He then emailed or filled out online forms to send hoax bomb threats to those places and others, investigators said.
The threats were placed between September 15 and September 21 in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Arizona and Alaska, according to court documents. At least four girls as young as 13 years old were targeted through the online gaming platform, investigators said.
Investigators filed an arrest warrant for Nunez Santos, 33, in the U.S. Southern District of New York on charges of threatening interstate communications, making false information and hoaxes, attempted sexual exploitation of a child, attempted coercion of a child and attempted receipt of child sexual abuse materials.
He was arrested on Sept. 26 by Peruvian police, the Department of Justice said. It was unclear whether he had been extradited to the United States as of Monday, and court records did not show a first appearance or arraignment had occurred.
No attorney information was listed in the federal court docket, which was unsealed late last week. A message left with the federal public defender's office of New York was not immediately returned.
In Pennsylvania, 24 school districts received the fake bomb threats. Several school districts evacuated students or cancelled school in response, according to the charging documents.
“The defendant’s relentless campaign of false bomb 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,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in an emailed statement.