Why was Ashton Connor Garcia arrested? Washington state man accused of going on a three-month swatting spree across the country

Washington man arrested for making swatting calls (Representative swat team image via FBI Columbia/Twitter)
Washington man arrested for making swatting calls (Representative swat team image via FBI Columbia/Twitter)

On Thursday, March 30, 2023, authorities announced that a Washington state man, Ashton Connor Garcia, was arrested after being indicted on “Swatting” charges for threatening the lives of victims across the country.

Swatting is deemed an illegal activity where an individual makes a hoax call to law enforcement agencies and falsely reports threats of bombs or shootings, prompting officials to send Swat teams to a victim’s home or business.

In a press release on Thursday, The United state’s attorney’s office in Washington announced that they had arrested 20-year-old Ashton Connor Garcia, who made more than 20 "swatting" calls around the country and in Canada, triggering an emergency response to hoax calls.


Ashton Connor Garcia used voice-over-internet technology to conceal his identity

According to the indictment cited in the press release, Ashton Connor Garcia is accused of using voice-over-internet technology to conceal his identity and placing twenty fake calls between June 2022 and early September 2022. Garcia reportedly targeted victims in several states, including California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington. Authorities said that the suspect also made false reports of bomb threats in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Detailing the potential motive behind the calls, authorities said that Garcia was involved in an extortion plot, often exploiting victims for money, virtual currency, credit card information, or s*xually explicit photos. The suspect reportedly gathered personal information about his victims and then threatened his victims with harm, including swatting calls to send armed officers to their homes if they failed to meet his demands.

In a press release, U.S. Attorney Nick Brown addressed the charges against Garcia and said that the suspect’s actions threatened innocent lives as every fake call triggered an emergency response.

“Every time Mr Garcia is alleged to have made one of his false reports to law enforcement, he triggered a potentially deadly event – sending heavily armed police officers to an address where they mistakenly believed they would confront someone armed and dangerous.”

Authorities said that Garcia also made calls for amusement and bragged about making false reports on the social media platform Discord. He added:

“Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the unpredictable and terrifying dynamic these calls created for Mr Garcia’s alleged victims cannot be overstated. There is nothing funny about abusing emergency resources and intentionally placing people in harm’s way.”
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Garcia was charged with ten felony counts and could face up to a decade in prison if convicted.

Ashton Connor Garcia’s arrest comes amid a growing number of hoax calls flooding into schools and colleges, triggering an emergency response from law enforcement officials who are already on their toes due to the endemic school shootings across the country.

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In a recent incident, Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old transgender woman and a former student at Covenant Elementary School in Nashville, barged through the school doors and killed three children and three staff members before being shot dead by the responding officers at the scene.

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Edited by Sayati Das
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