What to Know
- A 33-year-old New York City man has been charged in connection to making a hoax bomb threat Wednesday, according to federal and local authorities.
- Gerardo Manuel Checo Nunez, of Queens, is facing one count of conveying false information and hoaxes in connection with the alleged bomb threat, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
- The subsequent investigation also found that from about 2006 to 2013, Checo Nunez was enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, including as an Engineer Equipment Operator.
A 33-year-old New York City man, and former Marine, has been charged in connection to making a hoax bomb threat Wednesday, according to federal and local authorities.
Gerardo Manuel Checo Nunez, of Queens, is facing one count of conveying false information and hoaxes in connection with the alleged bomb threat, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Attorney information for Checo Nunez was not immediately known.
According to a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, on Wednesday, Checo Nunez entered the Jacob K. Javits Federal Office Building, which houses the FBI, and approached a security booth staffed by members of the uniformed security police of the FBI. He then allegedly slammed against the transparent security screen protecting the security booth a copy of a written complaint he previously filed through the FBI’s website alleging that a foreign government had hacked his accounts and was trying to extort him.
Checo Nunez subsequently told the FBI Police that he had an improvised explosive device in his vehicle, and that he wanted to turn himself in. The FBI Police took him into custody and alerted members of the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Checo Nunez ended up telling members of the JTTF that there was not an explosive device in the vehicle and that he said that because the FBI had apparently ignored his hacking complaints and wanted them to pay attention to him, according to the complaint.
Law enforcement located his vehicle, which was parked by a coffee house and apartment building, and evacuated the surrounding area as members of the JTTF went to search his car.
FBI bomb technicians ended up searching his vehicle and determined that it did not contain an IED or any other type of explosive device or materials, according to the complaint. However, members of the JTTF allegedly found several rounds of .223 caliber ammunition, as well as written materials regarding weapons of mass destruction and the detection of IEDs.
The subsequent investigation also found that from about 2006 to 2013, Checo Nunez was enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, including as an Engineer Equipment Operator.
“While Nunez’s alleged threat to our federal building was deemed a hoax, his actions called for the resources of law enforcement, which were expended in response to one man’s personal gripe. Aside from the fact that these types of hoax threats divert resources and cost taxpayer dollars, they put law enforcement in harm’s way regardless of their intended purpose. Make no mistake about it, this case will be taken as seriously as any other," FBI Assistant Director‑in‑Charge Michael J. Driscoll said in a statement.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams also echoed similar sentiments, saying that although it was deemed a hoax in the end, the case was taken seriously prompting the mobilization of public safety resources.
“As alleged, the defendant’s bomb threat caused an immediate mobilization by the FBI and the NYPD appropriate for a real explosive device," Williams said. "Hoax or not, a bomb threat requires the diversion of valuable law enforcement and public safety resources, and causes genuine fear in the public. The defendant now faces a serious federal charge for his alleged conduct.”
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said making such threats "is no joke."
“In a city that has experienced more than 50 terrorist plots and four attacks, making a claim that you have a bomb at a government building is no joke," Shea said. "Mr. Checo Nunez faces serious charges which should serve as an example to others who believe making threats is an effective way to get attention."