A New York man has been arrested for allegedly making online threats targeting the president of the Dominican Republic leading up to and during the United Nations General Assembly that kicked off last week in Manhattan, court documents and a source say.
The man, identified in court papers as Enrique Figueroa, is believed to have past emotional problems and has allegedly made previous online threats for which he was taken to a hospital for psychological evaluation. Figueroa was released and allegedly returned to the same behavior, a senior law enforcement official said.
According to court documents, it was then that on Sept. 11 he tried to board a flight from John F. Kennedy Airport to another country, identified in the documents as "Country-1", but airport officials denied Figueroa boarding because his passport expired. Allegedly, on Sept. 17, Figueroa voluntarily interviewed with law enforcement officers and said that he published social media posts that could be perceived as threatening, but he did not intend to harm anyone. He said he made the posts to warn about corruption in that country and that he was the one who was elected president of the Dominican Republic (identified in documents as "Individual-1") but did not serve because he wanted to fight corruption, according to court documents.
On Saturday, a photo of the foreign government president's alleged motorcade in connection to the UN Assembly was published in an Instagram account under the handle Enriquefigueroatv with a Spanish caption, which translates into English as: “They have 24 hours to meet me otherwise he will be out of power in 30 days.”
However, Figueroa told officials that the Instagram account was used by a friend, who was a fan of his. He also told law enforcement officials that he was being held back from being vice president.
Figueroa subsequently gave consent for officials to search his cellphones. And although he was signed on to social media accounts that published some of the threatening posts, he was not logged into the Enriquefigueroatv Instagram Account.
The FBI-Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested and charged him in a criminal complaint Monday.
A senior official says there's no evidence to suggest the suspect had any means to try to carry out any potential plot but stressed the importance of taking such threats seriously, especially as more than 100 world leaders converge on Manhattan.
Attorney information for Figueroa was not immediately known.