Law enforcement has arrested and charged a Pennsylvania man with making threats against the FBI amid a surge in such posts being made online following the search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence last week. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors said Monday that a Pennsylvania man has been arrested and charged with making violent threats online targeting the FBI after agents searched the Florida home of former President Donald Trump.
The Justice Department said in a statement that Adam Bies, 46, of Mercer, Pa., made his initial court appearance Monday in Pittsburg where he remains in police custody after being arrested late Friday.
According to the criminal complaint, Bies made several threats to kill FBI agents on the right-wing social media platform Gab. Copies of the posts included in the court document show that Bies had written that his "only goal is to kill more of them before I drop."
The document states that the series of posts were made after FBI agents on Aug. 8 executed a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in connection to an investigation into the handling of presidential documents.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have warned that in the wake of the search of the former president's residence, they have seen an increase in threats against law enforcement agents, particularly online and across social media platforms.
Among the threats observed include placing a so-called dirty bomb at the FBI headquarters and calls for armed rebellion and civil war.
Prosecutors charged Bies with influencing, impeding or retaliating against federal law enforcement officers, which comes with a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
The complaint accuses Bies of operating the Gab account BlankFocus, which disseminated several violent threats against FBI agents on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
In one post from Thursday, he compared FBI agents to Nazi SS and Russian security agency officers while threatening to shoot them.
In another, he chastised Gab CEO Andrew Torba who seemingly issued Bies a warning over his posts while confirming that his threats were genuine.
"I sincerely believe that if you work for the FBI, then you deserve to DIE," he wrote, according to the court document.
Later that same day, he wrote that he is willing to die to kill agents, which resulted in the agent writing the court document to state, "[b]ased on my training and experience, an individual that makes statements accepting the end of life is a danger to himself and society."
"Based on the post described herein, I believe Bies is making his intentions known that he is willing to commit violence towards law enforcement in support of his beliefs, even if that costs him his own life."
The arrest of Bies comes after law enforcement killed an armed man in front of Cincinnati's FBI field office on Thursday.
Authorities identified the slain suspect as 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer and said the shootout occurred following his failed attempt to breach the FBI office.
The FBI and DHS said in a memo that since Aug. 8 they have identified "multiple articulate threats and calls for the targeted killing of judicial, law enforcement and government officials" connected to the search of Trump's residence.
The threats include specific targets, tactics and weaponry, the memo said.
"As a result of recent activities, we assess that potential targets of DVE violence moving forward could include law enforcement, judicial officials, individuals implicated in conspiracy theories and perceived ideological opponents who challenge their worldview," the federal agencies said.