Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian L. Hazen (619) 546-6695
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – March 8, 2021
SAN DIEGO – Manuel de Jesus Rodriguez-Hernandez pleaded guilty in federal court today to reporting fake bomb threats against the Imperial Regional Detention Facility in Calexico, California. The charge to which Rodriguez-Hernandez pleaded guilty carries a statutory maximum of five years in federal prison.
On January 13, 2021, Mr. Rodriguez-Hernandez was housed as a civil detainee at the Imperial Regional Detention Facility awaiting federal immigration proceedings. That afternoon, he called the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s hotline and said that earlier in the day he had been speaking with his wife on the telephone when the line was interrupted by an unknown person who said there was a bomb at the Detention Facility that was going to explode.
Shortly after the Facility’s management was notified of the threat, security personnel activated emergency protocols, which included the deployment of the bomb squad from the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office. After hanging up with the hotline, Mr. Rodriguez-Hernandez separately approached a detention officer and told the same story—that a bomb was at the detention facility and it was going to explode. For the next several hours, authorities from the Detention Facility and the Sheriff’s Office’s bomb squad thoroughly searched the facility but no explosive devices were found.
When interviewed after the Detention Facility was cleared, Mr. Rodriguez-Hernandez ultimately admitted he fabricated the bomb threats so that federal authorities would initiate an investigation at the Detention Facility.
DEFENDANT Criminal Case No. 21-CR-0339-W
Manuel de Jesus Rodriguez-Hernandez Age: 33
SUMMARY OF CHARGE
Conveying False Information and Hoaxes (Felony) – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1038(a)(1)
Maximum penalty: Five years in prison; $250,000 fine
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Southern District of California