Texas: Jonathan Torres faces conviction for mailing bombs

Bombs and threats: Jonathan Torres was sentenced to 5 years in prison for a pair of homemade bombs he mailed to a cafeteria and church in...

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FOTO Oficina del Alguacil del Condado de Jefferson.
  • Bombs and threats: Jonathan Torres was sentenced to 5 years in prison for a pair of homemade bombs he mailed to a cafeteria and church in Beaumont, Texas
  • Torres, 42, is an ex-military man who acted out of anger at the United States government
  • The man caused a wave of panic in Beaumont for weeks until he was arrested

Jonathan Torres was sentenced to five years in jail in federal prison for bomb threats in Beaumont, Texas.

Torres, 42, heard his sentence Tuesday, September 8, from federal judge Thad Heartfield in Beaumont, a city in East Texas, almost on the border with Louisiana.

The story that led to Jonathan Matthew Torres, his full name, a former military United States Army, put an entire city and its authorities in suspense in 2018 due to the fear of a possible attack terrorist.

In April 2018 the Beaumont Police Department (BPD, for its acronym in English) received a postcard with a cryptic message that set off all the alarms, according to the case documents.

“Do you want BMT to become another Austin?” The postcard asked, in handwriting, the BPD agents who called federal authorities to report the message.

The message referred to a series of explosive incidents in Austin, the capital of Texas, that occurred in March of that year in which Mark Anthony Conditt killed seven people, including himself, with a series of package bombs in various parts of the city.

The Austin attacks sowed a wave of terror for 19 days, from the first bomb, until Conditt blew himself up with a homemade bomb when officers came to arrest him.

Due to the message that arrived on the postcard, the BPD officers called the agents of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Arms and Explosives (ATF) to take the investigation.

BPD agents received another message assuring them that he had sent a pair of homemade explosives to a Starbucks coffee shop and a church in Beaumont.

Jonathan Torres put in suspense with his threatening messages and the pair of bombs he sent (PHOTO Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office)

The investigation was joined by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) office in Houston.

On April 26, 2018, agents found an explosive device that was activated with a mousetrap in the mailbox.

The postcards that the BPD received were signed by someone calling himself J Hancock. His handwriting was crucial to his arrest.

“The suspect has the ability and the resources to build these devices of great destructive power,” said US Attorney Joseph Brown when various law enforcement agencies are already looking for the man.

Filed Under: Jonathan Torres

On the afternoon of May 10 an explosion shook the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Beaumont. A package exploded inside your mailbox.

The package bomb, similar to the one in the mailbox at the Starbucks coffee shop, did not cause casualties but caused great panic in the city.

Federal agents of the United States Postal Service Police (USPIS) joined the investigation to track how the packages got to the church and cafeteria.

The postage stamps and seals were the second piece to be traced to determine the identity of the author of the two bombs.

Filed Under: Jonathan Torres

In the documents of the case it is detailed that in the package that did not explode in the Starbucks was another postcard with a cryptic message “Haji Die USA-JH” made with cuttings of letters from newspapers and magazines.

The postcards that the BPD received, the manufacture of the two mechanisms and the JH signature confirmed to the team of investigators that all this evidence was connected.

On May 11, 2018, a day after the explosion in the church, the BPD received another postcard with a cutout of the comic book character V for Vendetta in which the same person asked them “Would you like to play a game? JH ”.

The agents were working in a race against time to discover the man who sent them the messages and delivered bombs by mail.

Filed Under: Jonathan Torres

The degree of tension increased when the BPD received another postcard on Thursday, May 17, with an image of the character from the movie the Monster of the Black Lagoon in which they were asked “There are two others. Didn’t find them? JH ”.

However, federal agents that day already knew that the alleged person responsible for the postcards and the homemade bombs was a Hispanic man with military training.

On the night of that same Thursday, the federals raided a house at 4400 El Paso Street, in Beaumont, where Jonathan Torres lived, an ex-military man, an employee of a Home Depot store, and who was in charge of a sick relative.

The feds found boxes similar to the one used to ship the bombs, duct tape, and electronic equipment that matched the two bombs in Torres’s home.

Filed Under: Jonathan Torres

Based on that, federal agents arrested Joseph Torres and charged him with terrorist threats with explosive devices.

The investigation determined that Torres acted out of personal annoyance against the United States government and had no ties to terrorist groups.

Torres’s trial culminated on Tuesday when Judge Thad Heartfield sentenced the man to five years in federal prison where he will serve his sentence.

As of this writing, Jonathan Matthew Torres was still in the Jefferson County Jail awaiting transfer to federal prison where he will serve his sentence.

Filed Under: Jonathan Torres

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Filed Under: Jonathan Torres

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