U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of California
(415) 436-7200
March 4, 2015

Michigan Man Pleads Guilty to Making Telephone Bomb Threats to San Benito High School

SAN JOSE—Jason Keith Smith pleaded guilty yesterday to charges related to multiple telephone bomb threats he made to San Benito High School, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Change David J. Johnson.

In pleading guilty, Smith, 30, of Lincoln Park, Michigan, admitted that in November 2012 he began sending threatening Internet messages to a student at San Benito High School in Holllister, Calif. (“the Student”). In one instance, the defendant sent the Student a text message indicating that someone would be hurt unless she contacted him. The defendant admitted in his plea agreement that in early December 2012 he knowingly placed a number of telephone bomb threats from his home in Michigan to San Benito High School. Specifically, on December 2 and 3, 2012, defendant placed a call to San Benito High School claiming to be a police detective, stating that the student, to whom he had sent threatening messages, was in trouble with the law and requesting that she contact him. The defendant admitted in his plea agreement that, on December 3, 2012, he called San Benito High School and left a series of telephone bomb threats on the school attendance message. In one of these messages, the defendant said that there was a bomb in the high school and that people should run and hide. The defendant further admitted that he left another telephone message indicating that no one knew where he had placed the bomb, but he would blow the school to pieces. The defendant also admitted that he stated during one of these calls, “And by the way, I want you to look up this one chick named [the Student]. If she goes to school there, please let her know that I am watching her.” The Defendant also admitted making additional telephone bomb threats on December 4 and 7, 2014. As a result of defendant’s telephone bomb threats, San Benito High School had to be evacuated on several occasions and significant law enforcement resources were dedicated to investigate the bomb threats.

Smith was charged in an indictment filed in San Jose federal district court in February 19, 2014, with Interstate Communications (Threat) in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875(c). Smith has been in federal custody since October 6, 2014. After Smith’s guilty plea, U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh set the matter for sentencing on June 3, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. in San Jose. The maximum statutory penalty for Interstate Communications (Threat) is five years prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

The case was prosecuted by Northern District of California Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Fazioli and Eastern District of Michigan Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mulcahy, with the assistance of Legal Assistant Laurie Worthen. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Northern California and Detroit, the Hollister Police Department and the Lincoln Park Police Department.

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