A Texas man was arrested today in Travis County, Texas for allegedly sending threatening election-related communications to government officials on January 5, 2021.
Chad Stark, 54, of Leander, was arrested this morning in connection with an FBI law enforcement operation. He is due to make his first appearance this afternoon at the federal courthouse in Austin, Texas.
This is the first criminal case brought by the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force. Announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and launched by Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco in late June 2021, the task force leads the department’s efforts to address threats of violence against election workers and to ensure that all election workers – whether elected, appointed or volunteers – are able to do their job free from threats and intimidation. The task force engages with the election community and state and local law enforcement to assess allegations and reports of threats against election workers, and investigates and prosecutes such cases as appropriate, in partnership with the offices outside FBI and U.S. prosecutors’ offices around the country. .
“The Department of Justice has a responsibility not only to protect the right to vote, but also to protect those who administer our electoral systems from violence and unlawful threats of violence,” Attorney General Garland said. “The Department’s Election Threats Task Force, in conjunction with partners across the country, will hold accountable those who violate federal law by using violence or threatening violence to target election workers in the performance of their duties. public functions.”
“Today’s arrest confirms the FBI’s commitment to our pursuit of justice against those who choose to threaten anyone who contests our elections with violence,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Election workers who work to protect our right to a fair and democratic process deserve nothing less than the utmost security and assurance that they can carry out their role without interference. The FBI will continue to focus on its mission to protect these people and the important work they do, as well as the right to vote of every American.
“The intimidation of those charged with organizing free and fair elections in this country is against the law and cannot go unnoticed,” said U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine for the Northern District of Georgia. “When someone threatens an election official working at any level of the voting process – whether an elected official or a volunteer election official – our democracy is put in jeopardy. We are grateful to all those who work to secure our elections and our democracy. We must protect them all.According to the indictment, on January 5, 2021, Stark allegedly posted a message on Craigslist titled “Georgia Patriots it’s time to kill [Official A] the Chinese agent – $10,000. The message stated:
Patriots of Georgia, it is time for us to take our state back from these lawless traitors. It’s time to invoke our second amendment, it’s time to put a bullet in the Chinese traitors [Official A]. Then we go down to [Official B] corrupt local and federal judges. It is our duty as patriotic Americans to end the lives of these traitors and take back our country by force, we can no longer wait for corrupt law enforcement in corrupt courts. If we want our country back, we have to exterminate these people. A good stalwart patriot deer hunter in camouflage and a rifle can send a very clear message to these corrupt governors. we have to visit [Official C] as well as his family and shot him behind the ears. Let’s be very clear to our local law enforcement who have stood down and are watching BLM antifa destroy our country and kill our citizens, but you will step in to arrest Patriot supporters, apply face coverings and shut down American businesses?? ? Remember one thing, local law enforcement, the key word being local….. we will find you oath breakers and we will pay your family to visit your mother your father your siblings your children your wife… we are going to make examples of traitors to our country… death to you and to all your communist friends.
Organized by the Deputy Attorney General of Monaco, the Task Force Electoral Threats is led by the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Chamber and includes several other entities within the Ministry of Justice, including the Computer Crime Section and Criminal Division Intellectual Property, Civil Rights Division, National Security Division, and the FBI, as well as key interagency partners, such as the Department of Homeland Security. For more information on the Department of Justice’s efforts to address threats against election workers, read the memo from the Deputy Attorney General.
To report suspected threats or acts of violence, contact your local FBI office and ask to speak to the Election Crime Coordinator. Contact information for each FBI field office is available at https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/. You can also contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or file a complaint online at tips.fbi.gov. Complaints submitted will be reviewed by the working group and referred for investigation or response accordingly. If anyone is in imminent danger or at risk of being injured, contact 911 or your local police department immediately.
Stark is charged with one count of interstate threat communications. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI’s Atlanta field office is investigating the case.
Deputy Director Sean F. Mulryne of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Alan Gray of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia are pursuing the case.
An indictment is only an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a court.