Christopher Charles Perez, aka Christopher Robbins, is charged with spreading false information and fraud related to biological weapons – a criminal offense.
He was arrested in April 2020 after posting threatening messages on Facebook that anyone infected with the virus paid for licking things up in grocery stores San Antonio An area that scares people away from visiting those institutions.
“My homeboy cousin Kovid has 19 and we have paid for everything in the last 2 days,” Perez posted on Facebook, according to court documents.
“The big difference is that we told him not to be like this [expletive] Fools who record and post online … You have been warned. ”
Perez was ordered to pay a $ 1,000 fine. In the event of the loss of life by pretext, the offense may result in a life sentence, otherwise the maximum sentence is five years.
“Trying to intimidate people with the threat of spreading dangerous diseases is no joke,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “This office takes serious threats of harm to the community and puts them on trial to the full extent of the law.”
“Those who threaten to use Kovid-19 as a weapon against others are responsible for their actions even if they are threatening,” he said. The FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs of the San Antonio Division.
“Perez’s actions are deliberately designed to spread fear and fear, and today’s sentencing illustrates the seriousness of this crime.
According to this Court recordsPerez argued that the post was intended to prevent people from visiting the stores in order to prevent the virus from spreading.
He admitted that the post’s material was false and that nobody paid for the virus to be deliberately spread in grocery stores.
After the arrest of Perez on April 8, 2020, a screenshot of the post was sent to the Southwest Texas Fusion Center, a group of law enforcement agencies coordinating efforts to investigate potential terrorist threats to the public.
He is not protected by the First Amendment because his post is directly threatened with injury, involving potential use of a Kovid-19 biological weapon.
Said Imran Ahmad, chief executive of the Center for Counter-Digital Hate, who discovered misinformation related to Kovid-19 online. Washington Post The Perez case is “a good example of what you do on social media has real life consequences”.