Man charged for making threats to take down an airplane

A criminal complaint was filed on Jan. 8 against Francisco Fernando Cruz for allegedly sending threatening e-mails claiming that a TAM Airline flight from Miami to Brasilia "will go down."


The complaint was announced by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo Ferrer, Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Steinbach.


The threat was sent via e-mail to MDPD and TAM Airlines and said, "Flight must not take off. Targeted. It will go down. Retaliation. Cargo is dangerous. Be advised."


"Law enforcement remains ever vigilant for threats to domestic and international air travel," Ferrer said. "We will leave no stone unturned when a threat to the safety of air passengers is made and to ensure that justice is served."


Steinbach said the FBI takes this type of threat seriously, and is continuing to work with law enforcement.


"Through the hard work of Miami Dade PD, Customs and Border Protection, and the FBI's Newark Office, the flight was not disrupted," Steinbach said.


The threat was traced to an email account that was accessed on a computer at Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J. The university captured a video of the person who allegedly sent the e-mail.


Cruz was identified as the person who allegedly sent the e-mail, and was apprehended in Miami, where he was scheduled to board the flight to Brasilia.


If Cruz is convicted, he faces a statutory maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. His arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 24.