TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – A 24-year-old Fort Riley soldier was charged in federal court Monday with sending over social media instructions for making bombs, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.
Jarrett William Smith was charged with one count of distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction.
Smith, a private first class infantry soldier, joined the Army June 12, 2017, and was transferred to Fort Riley on July 8, 2019.
According to an FBI investigator’s affidavit, Smith said on Facebook he was interested in traveling to the Ukraine to fight with a paramilitary group called the Azov Batallion. During a Facebook chat, Smith offered to teach other Facebook users to make cell phone explosive devices “in the style of the Afghans.” On Aug. 19, 2019, Smith told an undercover investigator he was looking for “radicals” like himself. Smith talked about killing members of Antifa and destroying nearby cell towers or a local news station. Two days later, Smith told an undercover investigator about how to make a vehicle bomb. When the investigator commented that most of the components were household items, Smith said: “Making AK47s out of expensive parts is cool, but imagine if you will if you were going to WalMart instead of a gun store to buy weapons.” Smith also described in detail to the undercover investigator how to build a bomb that could be triggered by calling a cell phone. “Be very careful with the fully armed device,” Smith warned the investigator.
If convicted, Smith could face up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Mattivi is prosecuting.
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