California teen accused of swatting in Florida to face adult charges


SANFORD, Florida (AP) — A California teen has been charged with assault Florida Masjid was arrested and transported across the country to face felony charges.

According to court records, 17-year-old Allen Winston Fillion was arrested on January 18 by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on a warrant from Seminole County, Florida. He was extradited to Central Florida on Tuesday to face three charges of false reporting and one charge of unlawful use of a two-way communications device. He is being tried as an adult.

“Swatting is a dangerous and senseless crime that puts innocent people in dangerous situations and wastes valuable resources,” Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said in a statement. “The adequate law enforcement response to this swatting case underscores our unwavering dedication to community safety.” “Holding criminals accountable, no matter where they are located.”

Swatting is the practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to dispatch a large number of armed police officers to a particular address. Bomb threats have been around in the US for decades, but swatting has become especially popular in recent years as people and groups target celebrities and politicians.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Seminole County law enforcement received a call last May from someone reporting that he was entering the Masjid Al Hayy mosque in Sanford to report a mass shooting. About 30 law enforcement officers responded but found no shooter and determined the call to be a mugging incident.

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The Sheriff’s Office began working with the FBI to investigate several accounts on websites that provided swatting services. Authorities said various IP addresses associated with these accounts led to Fillion’s home in Lancaster, California, and the FBI executed a search warrant at the home in July. Based on evidence collected during the search, investigators obtained a warrant for Fillion’s arrest.

The SCSO Homeland Security Division continues to investigate the incident with the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Investigators believe Fillion may also be connected to other swatting incidents across the United States. According to court records, Fillion appears to have targeted high schools, colleges, mosques, government offices and military bases in several states.

A defense attorney listed for Fillion in court records did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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