Soldier from Conway pleads guilty to sending instructions for making bombs over social media

South Carolina News

(WBTW) – A soldier from Conway charged with sending instructions for making bombs over social media pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday as part of a plea deal.

Jarrett William Smith, 24, a 2014 Carolina Forest High School graduate, said he was guilty of two counts of distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction. Smith is from Conway and was an active-duty soldier assigned to Fort Riley, KS.

The maximum sentence for Smith for each count is not more than 20 years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and not more than five years of supervised release. His sentencing date has been set for May 18.

According to an FBI investigator’s affidavit, Smith offered on Facebook to teach other Facebook users how to make cell phone explosive devices “in the style of the Afghans.” On Aug. 19, 2019, Smith told an undercover investigator he was looking for “radicals” like himself.

He said “If chaos results in the death of people, even through information he provided, it doesn’t affect him,”

 FBI SPECIAL AGENT

Smith admitted to investigators he knows how to make improvised explosives and he routinely provides instructions “even to individuals who tell him they intend to use the information to cause harm to others.” Smith said he did this to cause “Chaos.”

He said “If chaos results in the death of people, even though the information he provided, it doesn’t affect him,” a special agent wrote in the FBI criminal complaint.

Smith told the undercover agent the headquarters of a major news network’s headquarters would be a suggested target, using a vehicle bomb. He spoke about his desire to travel to Ukraine to fight with the violent far-right paramilitary group, Azov Battalion.

Smith talked about killing members of the far left and destroying nearby cell towers or a local news station. On Aug. 21, Smith told an undercover investigator about how to make a vehicle bomb. When the investigator commented that most of the components were household items, Smith said: “Making AK47s out of expensive parts is cool, but imagine if you will if you were going to Walmart instead of a gun store to buy weapons.”

Smith also described in detail to the undercover investigator how to build a bomb that could be triggered by calling a cell phone. “Be very careful with the fully armed device,” Smith warned the investigator. “There have been cases where Middle Eastern insurgents built these bombs only for them to detonate prematurely because of telemarketers or people with wrong numbers who unwittingly called the devices and ended up accidentally blowing up the insurgents,”

“These allegations violate our Army Values so we take them very seriously,” said Lt. Col. Terence M. Kelley. “He entered the Army from Conway, S.C. as an 11 B Infantryman and completed training at Fort Benning, Ga. He has not deployed with the U.S. Army.”

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