ICE arrests “El Diablo” for Christmas terror threats

Jacob Ramos Esparza - "El Diablo" arrested by ICE
Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Jacob Ramos Esparza remains in federal custody, after being arrested by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). An unemployed 30-year old from Texas faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. He is charged with unlawfully, knowingly and intentionally using interstate communications to threaten to injure a person. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

According to the criminal complaint, Esparza used a moniker "El Diablo", which translates to English as “The Devil”. He posted death threats to Internet chat forums, taunting and threatening law enforcement personnel and their families.

Additional threats were made via email and included videos depicting graphic violence. Esparza threatened to "unleash 15 pipe bombs", use large-caliber munitions, chemical weapons and car bombs. While visiting a local municipal court, he also took great interest in photos of the children of the Judge’s staff.

“El Diablo” threatened to place pipe bombs in public places on Christmas Eve, to "create carnage unimaginable".

Immigration and Customs Enforcement HSI spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa said that Esparza made some of the threats from abroad, when he was in Juarez, Mexico. Other threats were reportedly made after he crossed the border into Texas, using public-access computers at computer stores, Internet cafes and a public library. ICE/HSI spokeswoman added that evidence recovered from Esparza’s vehicle confirms that “El Diablo” was serious about his intent to cause death and mayhem.

ICE/HSI documents allege that Esparza’s mental state was impacted by his mother's recent suicide. Angry at the world, “El Diablo” apparently decided to retaliate against law enforcement officials for arresting him and giving him a number of traffic tickets.