BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CN) — A 19-year-old Texan faces up to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty Monday to threatening to mail a bomb to the Federal Reserve building in Washington.
Local police executed a search warrant at Joel Hayden Schrimsher’s parents’ home in Harlingen on June 6, 2019 and arrested him after they received a tip from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington about his Twitter account on which his user name is Hayden Ter(rawr)ist.
The police found evidence he had sent a Twitter message to members of his family stating in part, “I’m gonna mail a bomb to the Federal Reserve.”
They also found bomb-making chemicals, handwritten recipes for napalm, nitroglycerin, smoke bombs, flash powder and white-supremacist literature in Schrimsher’s room, local media reported.
According to his plea deal, Schrimsher admitted to FBI agents the day of his arrest he had made the threat.
“The defendant claimed to agents that he was being edgy when he made these threats. The defendant admits he falsely claimed that he was going to mail a bomb to the Federal Reserve,” the agreement states.
FBI agents also found a photo on Schrimsher’s phone of a fake certificate naming him “Most Likely to Damage Federal Property.”
Reached by phone Monday, his retained attorney Rolando Garza of Edinburg, Texas, said his client is a nice kid and plans to attend college.
“At this point the case is ongoing so I don’t really think I can comment. … I find him to be a nice kid. You know he’s 19 years old. So he’s got a ways to go,” Garza said.
The bio information on his Twitter page states, “Let me be your arms dealer; High IQ individual; Disabled (wears braces); fluent in cookery” and includes a link to a YouTube video of a man giving instructions on how to make Kool-Aid.
Schrimsher was initially taken into state custody. He was transferred to federal custody on Nov. 6, 2019, after a federal grand jury charged him with six counts – two involving his threats against the Federal Reserve, and four others charging him with making threats to blow up a mosque and shoot up a synagogue. The indictment does not name a specific mosque nor synagogue.
Appearing via video in federal court Monday, Schrimsher pleaded guilty to conveying false information and hoaxes. In addition to prison time, he could be fined a maximum of $250,000 at his Nov. 30 sentencing hearing.
Schrimsher is also facing state charges: three counts of possession of explosive components with intent to combine them into an explosive weapon and three counts of making terroristic threats, the Valley Morning Star newspaper reported last November.
Some of the state charges have been enhanced with prosecutors claiming he intended to commit hate crimes.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya III refused to release Schrimsher on bond after a November 2019 detention hearing in which his attorney, Garza, said he was being denied adequate treatment for his diabetes in jail.
He will remain in custody until he is sentenced.