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FBI arrests 19-year-old suspected of making antisemitic threats and planning violence against Michigan Jewish community

<i>Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto/Getty Images</i><br/>FBI emblem is seen on the headquarters building in Washington DC on October 20
Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto/Getty Images
FBI emblem is seen on the headquarters building in Washington DC on October 20

By Sara Smart, CNN

(CNN) — A 19-year-old from Pickford, Michigan, was arrested by the FBI on Friday for allegedly making antisemitic threats on Instagram.

Seann Pietila was charged in a criminal complaint with “transmitting a communication containing a threat to injure another,” US Attorney Mark Totten announced Friday in a news release.

“Antisemitic threats and violence against our Jewish communities – or any other group for that matter – will not be tolerated in the Western District of Michigan,” Totten said.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Pietila had conversations with another Instagram user about committing a mass casualty or mass killing. Pietila told investigators that he didn’t plan on following through with the mass killings he discussed, the affidavit says.

Investigators found the name of an East Lansing synagogue, a date and a list of weapons – including bombs, Molotov cocktails and guns – in the notes app of Pietila’s phone, according to the affidavit.

His home was searched on Friday and among the items found were ammunition, magazines, a shotgun, rifle, various knives and a Nazi flag, Totten said.

Beth Lacosse, Pietila’s public defender, declined to comment, saying she had just been appointed to the case.

Pietila made his first court appearance on Friday and his detention hearing is set for June 22, according to court documents.

The-CNN-Wire
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CNN’s Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.

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