Soldier from Kansas talked of killing activists, bombing news network, prosecutors say

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Jarrett William Smith was charged with one count of distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction

Jarrett William Smith
(Source: Horry County School District)

TOPEKA, KAN (WBTW) – A soldier from Conway, Kansas was charged in federal court with sending instructions for making bombs over social media.

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

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,” according to the court documents.

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

Smith allegedly told the undercover agent that 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, court documents detail.

According to investigators, 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, court documents state.

“Be very careful with the fully armed device,” Smith reportedly 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.”

Smith could face up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

“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.”

His next hearing will be Sept. 26 at 1:30 PM with Judge Angel D. Mitchell in Topeka, Kansas.

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