A Texas man who wanted to blow up an Amazon data center to disrupt the Internet and upset “the oligarchy” was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday, federal prosecutors said.
The attempted attack in Virginia never happened and Seth Aaron Pendley, 28, was communicating with an undercover FBI agent instead of an explosives supplier, the North Texas District Attorney’s Office said .
Pendley, of Wichita Falls, was arrested in April. He pleaded guilty in June to one count of malicious attempt to destroy a building with an explosive.
“As this case shows, radicals roam the internet, looking for ways to attack them – and all too often they move their plans from the web to the real world,” Acting US Prosecutor Prerak Shah said. in a press release.
A federal public defender listed as representing Pendley did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday evening.
The FBI was informed in January that Pendley was posting on a forum popular with militias about the violence and the January 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol, court documents show.
Pendley later told someone on an encrypted messaging app that he planned to use plastic explosives to attack Amazon Web Services data centers “to kill about 70% of the Internet,” the documents say .
Pendley believed the data center was serving the FBI, CIA, and other agencies. The goal, he said, was for the US government to overreact and turn out to be a “dictatorship,” Pendley admitted in court documents.
He also claimed that he went to the Jan.6 attack on the United States Capitol in Washington, DC, with a sawed-off AR-type rifle, but left the gun in. his car. He said he did not enter the building as mobs of Trump supporters ransacked him, the documents said.
Pendley was arrested on April 8 in Fort Worth after picking up what he believed to be devices containing C-4 explosives and being shown how to arm them, officials said.