FBI: Man claimed on Facebook to have paid someone to spread COVID-19 at San Antonio grocery stores

A man has been arrested after the FBI says he posted on Facebook claiming to have paid someone to spread COVID-19 at San Antonio-area grocery stores.

Christopher Charles Perez, 39, is charged with one count of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1038, which criminalizes false information and hoaxes related to weapons of mass destruction. Perez was arrested Tuesday afternoon by FBI agents and now faces up to five years in federal prison upon conviction. He remains in federal custody.

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A federal criminal complaint alleges Perez posted a threat on Facebook where he claimed to have paid someone to spread coronavirus at grocery stores in the San Antonio area. He purportedly did so to deter people from visiting the stores in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

A screenshot of the threat was submitted via an online tip to the Southwest Texas Fusion Center, which then contacted the San Antonio FBI office for further investigation.

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The Department of Justice says in a release that the alleged threat was false and that no one spread coronavirus at grocery stores. The FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Squad and the Joint Terrorism Task Force are investigating this case.  


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