War on Terrorism

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

San Diego Man Sentenced to Seven Years for Politically Motivated Arsons


SAN DIEGO – Daniel Hector Mackinnon was sentenced in federal court today to seven years in prison for committing two politically-motivated arsons, including one that endangered the lives of children.

During today’s hearing, U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes described Mackinnon’s conduct as “cold blooded and cowardly” and expressed concern that Mackinnon is a danger to the community. “In light of what you did, I think every day is warranted,” Judge Hayes told the defendant, referring to the length of the sentence.

According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, Mackinnon’s conviction covered two separate arsons, both occurring in the early morning hours of April 24, 2019. Investigators believe Mackinnon targeted the victims based on the nature of the business and/or their professional/political ties. Beginning early that morning, Mackinnon attempted to set fire to the La Jolla home of a prominent San Diego real estate developer. At the time of the arson, the home was occupied by two adults and three small children, all of whom were sleeping. The defendant poured an accelerant onto the door and ignited it, causing damage to the door. Investigators found remnants of a plastic water bottle, a pry bar and a bottle cap at the scene and were able to tie Mackinnon to the arson based on DNA recovered from the bottle cap.

Mackinnon’s second arson that morning occurred at the Kearny Mesa building of Raytheon, a defense contractor that does weapons systems work for the military at the facility. Based on surveillance video, Mackinnon first drove his car into Raytheon’s building. After his car bounced back, he exited his car and opened the vehicle’s back hatch. A short while later, fire shot out, engulfing the vehicle and causing damage to the building’s exterior. Surveillance video showed Mackinnon fleeing the scene after which he drove into Mexico. A multi-agency effort of federal, state and local partners worked to identify Mackinnon and he was arrested the same day as he attempted to re-enter the United States at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

As set forth in the government’s sentencing memorandum, Mackinnon has previously committed politically-motivated petty crimes in the early 2000s, including remaining at the scene of a riot after being arrested at a Southern Kalifornia Anarchist Alliance May Day demonstration and “keying” a media vehicle at an environment protest.

“Fire is a dangerous and indiscriminate weapon,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “Mackinnon’s arsons not only caused damage to a business, but also endangered the lives of small children who were asleep in their homes. Because of the quick response and savvy investigative efforts of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, Mackinnon was quickly apprehended and his crime spree was swiftly ended.” Brewer also thanked prosecutors Caroline Han and John Parmley for working hard to keep the public safe.

“This conviction and sentence sends an important message to those who use violence to express their discontent,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Scott Brunner. “The FBI will identify and bring to justice arsonists and other violent actors who put the safety of San Diegans at risk.”

DEFENDANT                                               Criminal Case No. 19CR1849-WQH

Daniel Hector Mackinnon                               Age 37            San Diego, CA

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Malicious damage to building by means of fire, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Section 844(i).

Mandatory minimum penalty: Five years in prison

Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison and $250,000 fine

INVESTIGATING AGENCIES

San Diego FBI - Joint Terrorism Task Force

San Diego Police Department

Metro Arson Strike Team

U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

Friday, November 08, 2019

Man Pleads Guilty to Sending Text Messages Threatening to Kill Jews


U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office announced that Hanson Richard Larkin, 26, of DeLand, Florida, pled guilty yesterday to a felony Information charging him with knowingly and intentionally transmitting a threatening communication in interstate commerce, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 875(c).  Larkin, who has been in custody since his arrest, is scheduled for sentencing on January 8, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez, where he faces a possible maximum sentence of five years in prison.

According to the facts admitted at the change of plea, Larkin met an individual who resided in Miami-Dade County online around 2017, and over time, they became friends, communicating via text, phone, and various social media outlets. This friendship did not include any in-person interactions. On a number of occasions during the two years leading up to August 25, 2019, Larkin told this individual about his hatred of Jews.

In 2019, Larkin repeatedly expressed his intent to travel to Miami, Florida to meet with this individual, even though the individual repeatedly urged him not to come because he did not want to meet with the defendant.   On August 24, 2019, Larkin traveled from DeLand, Florida, to Miami, Florida via train, and on August 25, 2019, while Larkin was in Miami-Dade County, he texted the individual that he was at his house, despite being told not to visit.

Larkin then sent the following series of threatening text messages designed to coerce this individual to meet with him: (a) “…I bought a gun with my first paycheck If I don’t meet you I will be forced to use it.” (b) “I told you how much I hate Jews right?” (c) “If meeting me for five seconds is not worth the lives of multiple Jews than I have no other option.” (d) “There’s a chabad near me. And Amtrak has no security for weapon. Don’t make me make a choice theyll regret.” (e) “Ok so then we meet and no dead Jews?”

The recipient took these threats seriously because of Larkin’s frequent expressions of hatred for Jews, and contacted local law enforcement.  No meeting ever took place between this individual and Larkin, and Larkin returned to DeLand on August 26, 2019, where he was eventually arrested.

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI in this matter.  She thanked the West Miami Police Department, Hialeah Police Department, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, DeLand Police Department, FBI Jacksonville, and Amtrak Police Department for their invaluable assistance.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Edward N. Stamm and Maria K. Medetis.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Federal Jury Convicts Burlington Woman of Mailing Anthrax Threat to Sen. Susan Collins


BANGOR, Maine:  A Burlington, Maine woman was convicted today of mailing a threatening communication to Sen. Susan Collins following a one-day jury trial, U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced.

According to evidence presented at trial, Suzanne Muscara, 37, mailed a letter containing a white powder to Collins’ Bangor address in October 2018. The letter also contained a handwritten note indicating that the powder was anthrax. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service intercepted the letter at a mail sorting facility in Hampden, Maine. The FBI tested the white powder and found that it did not contain toxic substances. The FBI also matched a fingerprint found on the envelope with one of Muscara’s prints.

Muscara faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She will be sentenced after completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Maine Office of State Fire Marshal and the Maine State Police.