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SEATTLE (WJW) — A 20-year-old self-described “cyber-terrorist” who told Cleveland police he planted a bomb at the FOX 8 News offices was arrested early Thursday on a 10-count federal indictment.

Ashton Connor Garcia, of Bremerton, Washington, is accused of a months-long spree of more than 20 “swatting” calls in 11 states as well as a Canadian province from June 2022 to September 2022, in which he took victims’ personal information, threatened them and used threats to incite police responses to their addresses, according to a Thursday news release from U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Nick Brown.

“Swatting” is the illegal practice of calling in fake threats to law enforcement in order to prompt a heavily armed police response at a location.

Garcia also allegedly extorted his victims for money, virtual currency, credit card information or sexually explicit photos, prosecutors said. In some cases, he made the calls at the request of friends, prosecutors said. He treated it as “entertainment,” and broadcast the calls via a social media platform, where he called himself a “cyber terrorist,” according to the news release.

“Every time Mr. Garcia is alleged to have made one of his false reports to law enforcement, he triggered a potentially deadly event — sending heavily armed police officers to an address where they mistakenly believed they would confront someone who was armed and dangerous,” Brown is quoted in the release. “Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the unpredictable and terrifying dynamic these calls created for Mr. Garcia’s alleged victims cannot be overstated. There is nothing funny about abusing emergency resources and intentionally placing people in harm’s way.”

On July 28, Garcia is accused of falsely claiming to Cleveland police that he had planted a bomb at the FOX 8 offices in Cleveland.

Earlier that month, he made a call to Shaker Heights Police Department alleging his father was holding his family hostage with firearms and a hand grenade.

Elsewhere in Ohio, he threatened to leak his victim’s nude photos and “swat” them unless they gave up their credit card information.

Garcia allegedly used technology to conceal his identity and used fake names to call in hoaxes to non-emergency police phone lines, claiming he had planted bombs or that armed individuals were committing violent crimes at certain locations, according to prosecutors.

“Frequently he used the same scripts claiming that his father was holding him hostage, false claims that he shot his parents, false claims that his father stabbed his mother, and false claims that his father had raped female members of the family,” reads the release. “The false reports tied up law enforcement resources that could have been used for actual emergencies. In some instances, law enforcement entered the victim residence with weapons drawn and detained people at the residence.”

Threats and hoaxes involving explosives are punishable by up to 10 years in prison, according to the release. Other threats and hoaxes carry a maximum five-year sentence, if convicted. Extortion carries a two-year sentence.

Here’s a summary of the 10 felony counts against Garcia, provided by prosecutors:


Extortion: On July 17, 2022, he allegedly demanded credit card information or would injure the reputation of the victim, their family, would leak nude photos, and “swat them.”

Threats and Hoaxes: On July 22, 2022, he allegedly made a swatting call to the Shaker Heights Police Department falsely alleging his father was holding the family hostage with firearms and a hand grenade.

Threats and Hoaxes: On July 28, 2022, he allegedly called the Cleveland Police Department falsely claiming he had planted a bomb at the Fox News station in Cleveland.


Threats and hoaxes regarding explosives: He allegedly reported to the Milan Michigan Police Department that his father was holding him hostage with a gun and bomb.


Interstate threats: On July 30, 2022, he allegedly called the Kentucky State Police threatening to kill named hostages.


Hoaxes regarding firearms: On July 29, 2022, he allegedly called the Los Angeles Police Department making false claims against his father.

Hoaxes regarding aircraft: On Aug. 23, 2022, he allegedly called the Los Angeles Police and claimed his daughter told him there was a bomb on her flight from Honolulu to LAX.

Threats and hoaxes regarding explosives: He allegedly called Los Angeles Police Department alleging he had stashed four pounds of C4 explosives at an airport in Los Angeles and would detonate it unless he was paid $200,000 in bitcoin.

New Jersey

Extortion: On Aug. 24, 2022, he allegedly attempted to obtain photographs and videos of a minor female’s body by threatening to accuse a family member of a crime and “swat” them.


Threats and hoaxes: On Sept. 2, 2022, he allegedly called the Milan, Tennessee, police department alleging he was being held hostage by his father who had a gun and bomb.