Man charged over 20 ‘swatting’ calls across US, Canada

Canada Global (Web News) A man has been charged by police in Washington for placing more than 20 false emergency calls across the United States and Canada as part of a three-month “swatting” campaign that was promoted online.

According to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office, Ashton Connor Garcia, 20, of Bremerton, Washington, was detained on Thursday and charged with 10 federal offences for his allegedly illegal harassing behaviour.

In order to trick emergency personnel and annoy innocent people, Garcia is accused of making the swatting calls between June and early September of 2022. Victims in California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington, Edmonton, Alberta, and other states were the focus of the calls.

Garcia wanted money, virtual currency, credit card information, or sexually explicit images from several of the victims before placing the calls.

Garcia would broadcast his swatting calls on the social media network Discord, where it is claimed that he self-described as a “cyberterrorist” online. Officials assert that he would file several bogus reports of crimes such as kidnapping, murder, rape, and false bomb threats.

According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “he frequently used the same scripts claiming that his father was holding him hostage, false claims that he shot his parents, false claims that his father stabbed his mother, and false claims that his father had raped female members of the family.”

When making swatting calls, Garcia allegedly utilised “voice over internet technologies” to conceal his identify.

Extortion, threats, and hoaxes involving firearms and aeroplanes are among the charges brought against Garcia. A 10-year prison term could be imposed in response to the charges.

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