A Texas man is facing federal criminal charges after allegedly claimed on social media that he paid someone to spread the novel coronavirus at a local grocery store, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
Christopher Charles Perez, 39, of San Antonio is charged with spreading false information involving a biological agent, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Prosecutors said Mr. Perez posted on Facebook that he paid someone to spread the coronavirus at San Antonio grocery stores to deter people from visiting the stores, thus slowing the virus’s spread.
The threat was deemed false and no one spread the coronavirus at the stores, the Justice Department said.
A screenshot of the post had been sent Sunday to the Southwest Texas Fusion Center, which forwarded it to the FBI.
Mr. Perez was arrested Tuesday by the FBI at his San Antonio home.
The FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Squad and Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated the case.
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