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San Antonio Man Sentenced to Prison for Arson of Cellphone Towers

A San Antonio man, Sean Aaron Smith, was sentenced to six and a half years in federal prison on charges of felon in possession of a firearm and arson affecting interstate and foreign commerce. The sentencing took place yesterday in a federal court in San Antonio.

Court documents revealed that Smith, 30, engaged in malicious attempts to damage and destroy multiple cellular telephone towers around San Antonio between April 2021 and May 2022. He was apprehended during a traffic stop on May 13, 2022, where law enforcement officers discovered a handgun on the floorboard in front of the driver's seat.

A subsequent search warrant executed on Smith's apartment on May 15, 2022, led to the discovery of additional firearms. Notably, Smith knowingly possessed these firearms despite having been previously convicted of two felony crimes, each resulting in over a year of imprisonment. Smith pleaded guilty on August 17, 2023, to six counts of arson of cellphone towers and two counts of felon in possession of a firearm.

U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas emphasized, "My office will not tolerate attacks on our critical infrastructure seeking to shut down our cellular telephone system and endangering our citizens who need to use our 911 emergency systems."

Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Olson for the FBI San Antonio Division highlighted Smith's motives, stating, "Sean Smith tried multiple times to burn cell phone towers down around San Antonio, in support of his anti-5G ideology." Olson further noted that Smith, despite being a convicted felon, had a handgun in his vehicle when apprehended.

The joint investigation involved the San Antonio Fire Department Arson Squad, FBI, San Antonio Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, and Texas Rangers.

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