A Texas man who boasted that he was at the United States Capitol when a pro-Trump mob stormed the building in January has been charged with plotting to blow up an Amazon data center in Virginia, the Justice Department said on Friday.
The man, Seth Aaron Pendley, 28, of Wichita Falls, was arrested on Thursday after he took what he believed were explosive devices from a bomb supplier but were in fact inert objects provided by an undercover F.B.I. agent in Fort Worth, prosecutors said.
He was charged with a malicious attempt to destroy a building with an explosive, Prerak Shah, the acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said in a statement. If convicted, Mr. Pendley faces 20 years in prison.
Federal officials said they had begun investigating the plot after a concerned citizen contacted the F.B.I. on Jan. 8 about alarming statements posted on MyMilitia.com, a forum dedicated to organizing militia groups.
the statement. “In flagging his posts to the F.B.I., this individual may have saved the lives of a number of tech workers. We are also incredibly proud of our F.B.I. partners, who ensured that the defendant was apprehended with an inert explosive device before he could inflict real harm.”
It was not immediately clear on Friday night if Mr. Pendley had a lawyer.
Prosecutors said a search of Mr. Pendley’s Facebook account had shown that he had told an associate that he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, when swarms of Trump supporters attacked police officers and disrupted Congress as it was certifying the results of the presidential election.
Mr. Pendley told the associate that he had not entered the building but that he had taken a piece of glass from a Capitol window. Mr. Pendley later told an undercover agent that he had taken a sawed-off rifle to Washington but had left it in his car that day.