A 35-year-old Maryland man has been arrested in Seattle on a federal warrant out of Miami alleging that he made multiple threats on social media to kill a Southern Florida resident and “all Hispanics in Miami and other places,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Eric Lin was arrested Friday by Seattle FBI agents on charges of making threatening communications, according to a news release out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami. A criminal complaint alleges he made “pro-Hitler and anti-Hispanic statements” in more than 150 pages of Facebook messages turned over to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Miami by an individual residing there.
The charges do not state why Lin was in Western Washington and do not specify where he was arrested. Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, referred questions to the U.S. Attorney in Miami. A spokeswoman there, Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos, declined to comment.
The Facebook messages were sent to the Florida resident — who is not identified by name or gender — between May and July, according to the criminal complaint. According to the complaint, the person who received the messages — who is of Spanish descent — told agents they believed the messages were sent by Lin, who frequented a restaurant where the victim worked.
The charges allege that Lin made similar statements while at the restaurant and that’s how the individual identified him.
“In particular, both his statements in the restaurant and the messages from the Facebook accounts discussed mass shootings and idolization of Adolf Hitler,” according to the charges.
The U.S. District Court docket shows that Lin appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michelle Peterson, who ordered him detained and set Aug. 26 (a week from Monday) as the date for a hearing to determine whether he will be sent back to Miami to face the charges.
The complaint lists the content of a number of the Facebook messages sent to the victim, including one in which Lin allegedly superimposed a photograph of Hitler over a photograph of himself. In another, he states that “I will let you live so you can slowly watch me destroy your Entire Race … This is a RACE WAR and All of you will Die.”
Several of the messages use derogatory and racist terms to described Latinos, African Americans and Muslims, and include threats of rape and extreme violence both against the individual’s family and people of color in general. They also voice support for President Donald Trump.
“I Thank God everyday President Donald John Trump is President and that he will launch a Racial War and Crusade to keep the (expletives and racial slurs) and any dangerous non-White or Ethnically or Culturally Foreign group ‘In Line,'” he wrote. “By ‘In Line’ it is meant they will either be sent to ‘concentration camps’ or dealt with Ruthlessly and Vigorously by the United States Military.”
A manifesto purportedly written by the 21-year-old suspect in the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso on Aug. 6 said he targeted Hispanic immigrants and similarly voiced support of Trump’s polarizing rhetoric, which his critics say has encouraged individuals with racist and xenophobic views to take them public and act on them. A recent resurgence of white nationalism in the wake of Trump’s election has resulted in the FBI promising to crack down on hate crimes.