Friday, September 13, 2013

Security: US - New Mexico Man Arrested for Making False Bomb Threats

U.S. Attorney’s Office 
District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE—This morning, Luis Lucero-Loya, 23, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, made his initial appearance in federal court on a criminal complaint charging him with making false bomb threats. If convicted of the offenses charged in the complaint, Lucero-Loya faces up to 10 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Lucero-Loya is temporarily detained pending a detention hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

According to the criminal complaint, Lucero-Loya made false bomb threats on five different occasions between August 18, 2013 and August 31, 2013. The complaint alleges that, on each of the five occasions, Lucero-Loya placed 911 calls to Mesilla Valley Dispatch and falsely reported that there were explosives devices or bombs in specific commercial businesses in Las Cruces. As a result of the bomb threats, the businesses were evacuated and allegedly incurred significant losses.

“In a post-9/11 world, we must take bomb threats seriously. False bomb threats drain our already overburdened public safety agencies and prevent them responding to true emergencies. They also create significant stress and disruption to those threatened,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough. “We therefore must diligently investigate and prosecuted these cases.”

“There can be no tolerance for those who would jeopardize public safety by making false bomb threats,” said Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI. “The FBI is proud of the work of its special agents who vigorously investigated this case with the Las Cruces Police Department and the FBI’s Southern New Mexico Safe Streets Gang Task Force.”

Chief Richard S. Williams of the Las Cruces Police Department stated, “This investigation culminated in a prompt arrest because of the outstanding cooperation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Las Cruces Police Department, and the impacted commercial businesses. We are extremely grateful that this offender is being prosecuted for allegedly committing dangerous offenses and that the employees and customers of the victim businesses can return to a safe environment.”

Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces Police Department and the FBI’s Southern New Mexico Safe Streets Gang Task Force and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shaheen P. Torgoley of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.