California teen charged with ‘serial swatting’ after police say he made threats throughout the country

California teen charged with ‘serial swatting’ after police say he made threats throughout the country

A 17-year-old “serial swatter” from California is believed to be responsible for hundreds of swatting incidents and bomb threats throughout the United States and is now facing charges in Florida, according to a pretrial detention motion.

Alan Filion was extradited to Florida on January 30 to face charges for a swatting incident at a mosque, according to the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office.

Swatting is making a false report to the police with the intention of luring them to a location by saying a violent crime has taken place or is in progress.

The dangerous hoax has been on the FBI’s radar for nearly two decades and became more widely known as celebrities were targeted. The troubling trend recently took a political turn as federal judges and lawmakers have been subject to the false emergency calls, along with state capitol buildings and even the White House.

Filion threatened a mass shooting at the Masjid Al Hayy Mosque in Sanford, Florida, in a May 2023 phone call to law enforcement, according to a news release from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.

During the call, Filion said he had a handgun and explosive devices, the release said. In a 911 call released by the department, the caller is heard saying he is going to “commit a mass shooting in the name of Satan.” Gunfire is heard in the recording.

Approximately 30 law enforcement officers responded to the mosque, the sheriff’s office said.

Filion also targeted high schools, historically Black colleges, mosques, FBI offices and FBI agents, and made threats to bomb military bases and the Pentagon, the state attorney’s office said in a court filing.

The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said law enforcement officers worked with the FBI and the Department of Justice to track the mosque 911 call to Filion’s home in Lancaster, California.

The sheriff’s office said the teen created several accounts on websites offering swatting services and “various IP addresses connected to these accounts” led to his home address.

In July 2023, officials said they executed a search warrant at Filion’s home address. He was arrested on January 18.

Filion was charged as an adult and faces three felony charges of false reporting and a felony charge of unlawful use of a two-way communication device. Each charge accuses him of committing the acts while facilitating or furthering an act of terrorism and while showing prejudice.

Court records show Filion has entered a plea of not guilty and remains in custody. An attorney representing him declined comment to CNN.

“Swatting is a perilous and senseless crime, which puts innocent lives in dangerous situations and drains valuable resources. The substantial law enforcement response in this swatting case underscores our unwavering dedication to community safety and holding offenders accountable, regardless of where they are located,” Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said.

“Make no mistake, we will continue to work tirelessly in collaboration with our policing partners and the judiciary to apprehend swatting perpetrators.”

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