Federal authorities have accused Christopher Fassih, 25, of Ohio, of transporting child pornography and phoning in bomb threats. Adobe Stock photo.
Authorities have nabbed an Ohio man who threatened to blow up police stations nationwide, according to the FBI.
Federal prosecutors in Colorado have also accused the man, Christopher Fassih, 25, of using his cell phone to store child pornography he got from the darknet.
He’s being held without bond after entering a not-guilty plea on July 16 in federal district court in Denver, near where he was arrested.
“My investigation has revealed that an individual named Christopher Fassih made numerous telephonic bomb threats from Colorado to police stations around the country on July 5, 2021,” FBI Special Agent Marisa Budwick wrote in an affidavit of probable cause filed with the court. “I also believe that Fassih downloaded child pornography from the internet onto his cellular telephone.”
Fassih’s attorney, a federal public defender, didn’t return messages seeking comment.
In general, federal public defenders in Colorado and Wyoming decline to speak to the press, citing a media gag order circulated by their office.
Fassih’s case appears to have originated in Washington following a pair of July 5 bomb threats allegedly telephoned to the Metro Police Department.
“I’m going to blow up the station if you don’t give me money in the next 30 minutes,” a male caller told an officer in the 6th District main station, according to FBI.
“There is a guy in the station and he stole our product. We placed explosives around the station,” the male caller told officers in the 7th District station.
Police evacuated the 7th District station and closed off nearby roads, but explosive detection dogs and the bomb squad failed to uncover any bombs.
DC detectives traced the calls to Colorado, to a cell phone Fassih allegedly used.
When DC police contacted him, Fassih claimed that he wanted to leave “an international mafia group” that wanted him dead and that he’d also downloaded child pornography to his phone, according to the FBI filing.
Fassih later rang a DC detective to report he was standing in front of the Fort Collins Police Services headquarters in Colorado; that he’d made more than 60 calls to law enforcement agencies nationwide; and that he was trying to do “extreme things” to become “an enemy of the United States … like a terrorist,” but didn’t really want to hurt anyone, according to the FBI.
Fassih’s motive: to get arrested so he could be jailed in Administrative Maximum Facility Florence, a federal prison in Fremont County, Colorado, according to the affidavit.
A “supermax” campus, Florence has held criminals such as serial killer Dr. Michael “Doctor of Death” Swango; turncoat FBI agent Robert Hassen, a spy for the Soviet Union; al Qaeda terrorist Abu Hamza al-Masri; Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman; and the infamous Unabomber, Theodore “Ted” Kaczynski.
The DC detective urged the caller to walk into the Fort Collins station and surrender to an officer.
He apparently didn’t do that. Instead, he allegedly spent portions of the day phoning in bomb threats to other police departments.
“I am trying to help you; we surrounded the station with explosives because an inside guy took our product, and you are in trouble,” a male caller believed to be Fassih told the Boston Police Department.
At Boston’s District B-3 station, the caller warned officers, “You have 30 minutes to free his friends or else. The building is surrounded by bombs.”
A caller believed to be Fassih gave Cleveland Division of Police’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th districts 30 minutes “until the bomb goes off,” according to the court filings.
He also told Miami Police Department’s Central Station that, if he didn’t receive money in 30 minutes, he’d blow up the building, which he claimed was ringed with explosives.
As in Washington, DC, Ohio, and Massachusetts, Miami’s officers found no bombs.
Tipped off by DC officials, Fort Collins Police Department officers caught up to Fassih outside their station on July 6 and escorted him inside, according to court records.
They told the FBI that Fassih repeated what he told other detectives about trying to escape an international mafia syndicate, adding that he wanted to turn himself in.
He surrendered his cell phone, which a Fort Collins detective said held up to 25 pornographic photos depicting young girls.
Authorities placed Fassih in an unidentified mental hospital in Fort Collins.
“He has no ties to the community and has a history of mental health issues and sporadic compliance with medication,” federal magistrate Scott T. Varholak wrote in his July 14 order denying bail to Fassih.
No trial date has been scheduled. If convicted, Fassih faces at least three years in federal prison, with a maximum sentence of life behind bars.
Carl Prine is a former senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He has worked at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
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