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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: critical infrastructure

A 28-year-old Bellingham, Washington woman was convicted today in U.S. District Court in Seattle of violence against a railroad carrier, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman.  Ellen Brennan Reiche, was one of two people arrested on the BNSF Railway tracks near Bellingham, near midnight on November 28, 2020.  Reiche was convicted of placing a ‘shunt’ – a device that interferes with train signals – on the tracks.  The jury deliberated about three hours following the two-day trial.  Reiche faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez on December 17, 2021. 

According to records in the case and testimony at trial, on the night of November 28, 2020, Reiche and co-defendant Samantha Frances Brooks, 24, were observed on video surveillance walking on the tracks near a crossing in Bellingham.  Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene.  The defendants were detained for trespassing, and a shunt was found on the tracks near where the deputies had first encountered them.  Reiche was carrying a paper bag containing wire, a drill with a brush head, a magnetic adhesive and gloves.  The wire was similar to the wire used in the shunting incidents.  The shunt that was placed on the tracks could have interfered with the railroad crossing guard at Cliffside Drive in Bellingham.  A train carrying crude oil, among other cargo, was scheduled to come through that area soon after this incident.

Read more: Department of Justice

An Ohio man who attacked a TV reporter in Gulfport, Mississippi on Monday morning has a criminal past.

According to a report from Cleveland.com, in August of 2017, Benjamin Dagley drilled holes into tanks of dangerous chemicals, including hydrochloric acid, sending one person to the hospital.

The crime took place at Cleveland Plating, a business Dagley once owned.

According to police, Dagley’s drilling holes into the tanks of sodium cyanide, hydrochloric acid, yellow chromate, ferrous chloride, and sulfuric acid risked a potential environmental disaster.

Read more: WLBT (Jackson, MS)

Gabriel Arjona-Molina made his initial court appearance on Monday after he was arrested and charged for attempting to take an air ambulance from the Hilo International Airport.

The 24-year-old is being held at Hawaii Community Correctional Facility in lieu of $37,000 bail.

On Friday, Aug. 27, a witness reported that a vehicle crashed through the fence at the airport. The driver, later identified as Arjona-Molina, then parked next to a fixed-winged single engine aircraft. He exited the vehicle and attempted to manually spin the aircraft’s propeller. 

Police said Arjona-Molina then approached a Beechcraft King Air C90A aircraft parked on the ramp that he was able to board through the pull-down hatch. He entered the cockpit where he started both engines before exiting the plane; the aircraft did not move. Police arrested him at the scene shortly after.

Read more: KHON (Honolulu)

Today, Paul James Kryscuk, 35, Liam Collins, 21, Jordan Duncan, 26, and Joseph Maurino, 22, were charged via a third superseding indictment obtained in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Collins and Duncan are former Marines assigned previously to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina.  The defendants are charged with conspiracy to damage the property of an energy facility in the United States.

According to the indictment, Collins, Kryscuk, Duncan, and Maurino researched, discussed, and reviewed at length a previous attack on the power grid by an unknown group.  The group in that attack used assault-style rifles in an attempt to explode a power substation. Between 2017 and 2020, Kryscuk manufactured firearms while Collins stole military gear, including magazines for assault-style rifles and had them delivered to the other defendants.  During that time, Duncan gathered a library of information, some military-owned, regarding firearms, explosives, and nerve toxins and shared that information with Kryscuk and Collins.

The indictment also alleges that the defendants discussed using homemade Thermite, a combination of metal powder and metal oxide which burns at over 4000°F to burn through and destroy power transformers.  In mid-2020, Collins asked others to each purchase 50 pounds of Tannerite, a binary explosive containing aluminum powder and oxidizers, and can be used to make Thermite.  In October 2020, a handwritten list of approximately one dozen intersections and places in Idaho and surrounding states was discovered in Kryscuk’s possession, including intersections and/or places containing a transformer, substations, or other component of the power grid for the northwest United States.  If destroyed, the damage caused could exceed $100,000.

Read more: Department of Justice

A conspiracy theorist caused more than £100,000 of damage by setting fire to a 5G phone mast after previously covering himself in tin foil to protect himself from their waves.

"Delusional" online theories about the dangers posed by the technology sparked the drastic action and arson attack by David Patterson.

He set fire to one of the masts in Gateshead above a garage, causing between £100,000 and £150,000 damage to the mast and around £15,000 damage to the business. 

 Newcastle Crown Court heard Patterson was suffering a mental disorder at the time and had been adversely influenced by material he had read online.

Judge Sarah Mallett said: "He believed he was protecting his family and others, in reality, from the harm he thinks, in his delusional beliefs, was coming from the aerial."

Read more: Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, UK)