Federal officials in New York have arrested a man they said posted on the Internet a threat to kill Dominican President Luis Abinader, who arrived Saturday for the 76th UN General Assembly.
Enrique Figueroa, 47, began threatening Abinader in August, according to a criminal accusation released on Monday. In one case last month, Figueroa posted a video saying, “We called for the July assassination of Haiti’s president, Jovenel Moise, and said the audience should remember what happened to him.”
Earlier this month, the Dominica government provided U.S. law enforcement officials with a screenshot of an Instagram post showing Mr. Figueroa’s military assault rifle, and added a caption to the complaint filed in the federal district court in Manhattan. Stated. He named Mr. Avinada and said, “We will meet each other at the beginning of September.”
Figueroa was arrested Sunday night after using Instagram to post a photo of Abinader’s convoy in New York and another image of himself making a phone call. Do not leave the United States. Then, “I know who is crazy.”
Figueroa was ordered to be detained by Judge James L. Cot on Monday.
In court, federal prosecutor Alexander Lee said he was interviewed by authorities on September 11 when Figueroa failed to board a plane to the Dominican Republic. He told investigators that he was a member of QAnon and plans to attend the J6 Rally Judiciary in Washington last Saturday.
The government believed he attended the rally, Lee said. (Mr. Figueroa complained that his passport had expired and his flight was blocked.)
Lee also told the judge that Figueroa was arrested at the end of last month in a domestic violence case accused of trying to strangle a female relative.
Figueroa appeared visibly upset in court, saying, “These are not my positions,” as he was handcuffed and taken out of court after the hearing was over. His lawyer, Amy Galiccio, declined to comment after the hearing.
Abinader, who has never held an electoral office, defeated the president in July last year with a turnout of nearly 53%, ending the center-left government’s 16-year hold. Once deeply involved in the tourism industry in the Caribbean, he ran for Vice President in 2012 and for President in 2016, when he finished second.
Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement that it would address the General Assembly on Wednesday.
Efforts to reach the Dominican Republic’s permanent mission by phone and email on Monday failed. The president’s spokeswoman did not respond to a message on Twitter asking for comment.
Figueroa has been interviewed by authorities for the second time on Friday, two days before his arrest, the complaint said.
Members of the Joint Terrorist Task Force visited him, and during the course of the interview, he seemed to discipline and assure federal agents and detectives that “it didn’t mean that” and “nothing would happen again.” .. Senior law enforcement officer.
But the next day, the complaint said he posted two photos on Instagram with threatening comments.
Officials said investigators did not believe Figueroa was a serious threat, but were charged with ignoring the warning and repeating the threat. Officials have suggested that alcohol may be involved.
William K. Rashbaum and Sean Piccoli contributed reports from New York and Oscar Lopez from Mexico City.