Cambridge, MA – A man who tweeted an offer to pay $500 to anyone who would kill a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent was arrested in New York City on Thursday morning.
"Today's arrest should serve as a warning to others who think they can solicit the murder of federal agents. It will not be tolerated and there will be serious consequences," Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Harold Shaw said at a press conference from Boston on Aug. 9.
FBI agents took 33-year-old Brandon Ziobrowski of Cambridge into custody for a threatening tweet he posted on July 2, when he solicited pledges to cover the cost of paying people to assassinate ICE agents, NBC News reported.
“I am broke but I will scrounge and literally give $500 to anyone who kills an ice agent. @me seriously who else can pledge get in on this let's make this work,” Ziobrowski tweeted using the Twitter handle @Vine_II.
On July 5, the Department of Homeland Security first noticed Ziobrowski's tweet looking for people to kill ICE agents, NECN reported.
Investigators also found more tweets, going as far back as February, which promoted violence against police.
"Guns should only be legal for shooting the police like the second amendment intended," Ziobrowski tweeted, according to NECN.
Twitter removed the post and suspended Ziobrowski’s account later in July at the request of law enforcement, NBC News reported.
Authorities said the man had also tweeted about wanting to "slit" the throat of U.S. Senator John McCain, according to NECN.
During the press conference announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling pointed out the recent uptick in violence against police officers.
Lelling referenced the four Massachusetts law enforcement officers who had been shot in 2018, noting that two police officers had died.
"I can promise you that during my tenure this office will aggressively prosecute anyone who incites violence against law enforcement officers," he said.
Lelling said investigators had determined that Ziobrowski’s motive was his disagreement with the mission of ICE. He also harbored a “violent dislike” for McCain and the police.
"He appears to just be some guy living in Cambridge who feels strongly on this subject," Lelling said. "Feeling strongly about something is fine. Putting people's lives in danger is not fine."
The case was developed and investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Boston, NBC News reported.
"Enough is enough," Shaw told reporters at the press conference. "This case presents the violent potential faced by federal law enforcement officers."
Ziobrowski faces charges of using interstate commerce to transmit a threat to injure another, NBC News reported.
He was expected to make his first court appearance in Brooklyn on Thursday.