Authorities say a Texas
man boasted about attending the Jan. 6 insurgency at the US Capitol
with a sawed-off rifle in his car, and he pled guilty to plotting to blow up an Amazon
data center in Virginia
Seth Aaron Pendley, 28, of Wichita Falls, pleaded guilty Wednesday to maliciously attempting to destroy a building with an explosive and now faces five to twenty years in federal prison
, according to the Justice Department
Pendley was arrested in April
after authorities said he attempted to obtain explosive devices from an undercover FBI
agent in Fort Worth after expressing his desire to “kill off about 70% of the internet” by destroying the tech
giant’s data centers.
“We may never know how many tech workers’ lives were saved as a result of this operation – and we’re grateful we didn’t have to find out,” Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah said in a statement. “Bringing domestic extremists to justice remains one of the Department’s top priorities.”
According to a copy of the criminal indictment obtained by Stardia, Pendley, who goes by the online alias "Dionysus," expressed on a militia website his intention to carry out "a little experiment" that would result in "death
." This came after he expressed frustration — on the same site — that more people
did not bring guns
to the Jan. 6 riot, as he had.
“How much did you expect to do when we all willingly go in unarmed?” he allegedly wrote, adding that he “only left it in my ride after seeing 0 accompanying me in my endeavor.”
Authorities were tipped off to Pendley's online activity by someone only identified as a "confidential source" while sharing encrypted messages Pendley had sent through the app Signal, which detailed his plans to commit violence, according to authorities.
Pendley gave this source a list of data center addresses he was targeting as well as hand-drawn maps, and when the source offered to help him obtain C4 explosives, Pendley responded, "Fuck yeah." The source then introduced Pendley to an undercover FBI employee, who authorities said was identified to Pendley as an explosives supplier.
In recorded conversations, Pendley allegedly told an FBI employee, “The main goal is to fuck up the Amazon servers.”
According to prosecutors, Pendley stated that by destroying the servers, he hoped to enrage “the oligarchy” enough to elicit a reaction that would persuade the American people to act against what he perceived to be a “dictatorship.”
Pendley eventually met with the undercover FBI agent to receive what he thought were explosive devices (they weren't). The agent demonstrated how to arm and detonate the ineffective devices, which Pendley then loaded into his car, prompting his arrest.
A later search of Pendley's home turned up a rifle receiver with a sawed-off barrel, a pistol painted to look like a toy gun, and a machete with the name "Dionysus" written on the blade, as well as masks
, wigs, hand-drawn maps, and flashcards relating to the planned attack
, according to authorities.
On Thursday, Pendley's attorney did not respond immediately to Stardia's request for comment.