Tuesday, 23 October 2018

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Florida Man Faces Federal Charges For Threatening Mosque

By Paul Scicchitano, Patch Staff, For Miami Patch , On 29 May 2018, Read Original

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MIAMI, FL — A 26-year-old South Florida man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he threatened to blow up a suburban Miami mosque earlier this month. Dustin Allen Hughes of Cutler Bay was charged with four counts of obstruction of persons in the free exercise of religious beliefs. He allegedly made four telephone threats to the Jamaat Ul Muttaqeen Mosque of Pembroke Pines, Florida. He is also charged with four counts of making threats by telephone. 

"Each time, Hughes left a voicemail message containing bomb threats and derogatory language towards Muslims," according to federal prosecutors in Miami. 

In reality, there were no bombs and no one was injured. All of the calls were allegedly made between May 2 and May 5.

"Everyone has the right to practice their religion and visit places of worship without having to fear for their physical safety," said U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg in Miami in announcing the charges on Friday. "This office, with the assistance of our law enforcement partners, will aggressively defend these rights and prosecute those who commit hate crimes of any kind."

FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert F. Lasky in Miami said that the agency has made hate crime cases its top priority.

"Hate crimes have a devastating impact on families and communities and we are committed to thoroughly and vigorously investigating these offenses," Lasky explained.

If convicted on all charges, Hughes faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Davis and Trial Attorney Samantha Trepel of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

The threats were investigated by the FBI, FBI Miami Area Corruption Task Force, Pembroke Pines Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department and Miami Police Department.

Photo courtesy Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. U.S. Courthouse in Miami