BOSTON (CBS) – A Cambridge man is accused of tweeting a murder-for-hire solicitation to kill ICE agents for $500.
Brandon Ziobrowski, 33, also allegedly made violent threats against Senator John McCain. He created a Twitter account to threaten federal agents and McCain, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ziobrowski was charged with one count of use of interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat to injure another person. He was arrested Thursday morning in New York and will appear in Boston at a later date.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in one alleged tweet on July 2, Ziobrowski wrote: “I am broke but I will scrounge and literally give $500 to anyone who kills an ice agent. @me seriously who else can pledge get in on this let’s make this work.” At the time of the tweet, Ziobrowski had 448 Twitter followers.
By July 5, Homeland Security agents found Ziobrowski’s tweet and alerted law enforcement agencies nationwide. Twitter has since removed the tweet and suspended his account, authorities said.
U.S. attorney Andrew Lelling said his office will aggressively pursue anyone inciting violence against law enforcement, citing the shooting of four officers in Massachusetts this year.
“Under the guise of political debate, we are facing a rising tide of public threats and invitations to violence that undermine a Democratic society and a rule of law,” Lelling said during a press conference Thursday morning. “Federal agents enforce laws enacted by Congress.”
READ THE CRIMINAL COMPLAINT HERE.
Lelling said citizens need to be reminded “more and more of this basic civics lesson.”
“The agents and officers out there enforcing federal laws are doing their job, plain and simple. Those who disagree with their mission are, of course, free to say so, but there is a difference between public debate and intentionally putting others in fear of their lives,” Lelling said.
According to court documents, Ziobrowski created a Twitter account in 2009 registered under the username @Vine_II.
Over time, Ziobrowski’s tweets became more violent and threatening. He is accused of repeatedly tweeting his desire to “slit” Senator John McCain’s throat. Then, starting around February 2018, Ziobrowski allegedly began posting tweets that promoted violence against law enforcement.
A Feb. 24, 2018 tweet read: “Guns should only be legal for shooting the police like the second amendment intended.”
In March 2018, Ziobrowski allegedly started tweeting threatening messages against federal law enforcement agents that work for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
On March 1, 2018, in responding to a tweet from the ICE Field Office stating that ICE officers put their “lives on the line to arrest criminal aliens,” Ziobrowski posted a message that read: “Thank you ICE for putting your lives on the line and hopefully dying I guess so there’s less of you?”
If convicted, Ziobrowski faces a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.