Anchorage Man to Face Charges in Pennsylvania in Lafayette College over Dark Web Bomb Threat
An Anchorage man was arrested by police last week and will be charged in Pennsylvania for a dark web bomb threat at Lafayette College, which has caused panic in Easton.
The FBI launched an investigation after a wave of panic, caused by a bomb threat posted on Twitter, spread on social media. Law enforcement conducted a warranted search at the Lafayette College campus in Easton on Saturday night, 5 May 2018, and a young man, who claimed to be a student at the college, was arrested. He had, on several occasions, openly declared his allegiance to the ISIS terror group and was planning to bomb the campus, according to his social media posts.
Gavin Lee Casdorph was arrested in a house to house raid on Easton campus and has since admitted to making bomb threats after the FBI confronted him in a lengthy interrogation. According to the investigating agents, Casdorph made threats of bombing the college on a Twitter account registered under the username, ‘BdanJafarSaleem’.
The 20-year-old student appeared before Judge Scoble Matthew of the U.S. district court in Anchorage on Tuesday. The federal judge denied the suspect, and he will face the charges Pennsylvania.
William McSwain, the US Attorney, has promised to give details on the incident and the arrest after a meeting with Alison Byerly, the president of Lafayette College, and with the federal investigating officers Wednesday morning.
In an affidavit filed by the FBI in Allentown District Court, the Alaska gamer who was arrested for the Lafayette College threat had used a Russian encrypted dark web site to mask his identity. He posted a threat statement using a Twitter account with the username, ‘BdanJafarSaleem,’ claiming that he had an explosive device in the college, which he was planning to use to inflict damage at the institution. He also posted about his allegiance to ISIS.
The investigating detectives traced the Twitter account, which led them to a phone number through a Russian company that verifies social media accounts. The phone number had been used to register several other Twitter accounts, one of which had the name of a Lafayette College student.
Early this month, a student told the investigators that there was an argument on a messaging platform called Discord used among online Counterstrike video game players. “On Discord chat application, a student, using the handle ‘Neuroscientist’ and named Gavin, made threats of bombing Lafayette, which lead to arguments,” he said.
In an interrogation, according to court documents, Casdorph admitted to creating the Twitter accounts, posting bomb threats, and using the dark web to mask his identity from law enforcement authorities. He, however, boasted that it wouldn’t be easy for law enforcement agencies to prove how he accomplished the crime unless he himself explains.
The young man from Anchorage, Alaska, is facing charges of propagating terror through bomb threats as well as pledging allegiance to ISIS. The prosecutors told the court that the suspect could be a threat to public safety if released on bail as the case hearing continues. He will remain in custody until the case is closed.