Texas teen arrested after posting threat to blow up plane on Snapchat

Posted at 10:55 AM, Aug 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-14 11:55:49-04

Authorities have charged a 17-year-old from Texas with making a terroristic threat after he allegedly posted on Snapchat about blowing up a plane before flying from Houston to Guatemala.

The 17-year-old, Hector Fernando Fonseca, posted messages on the app on Aug. 2, saying, "blown this s--- up," along with a photo of George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and then "time to blow up the plane." Both photo messages included a smiley face and bomb emoji, according to a charging document.

The threats were only discovered after Snapchat discovered the photos and tipped off the FBI National Threat Operations Center, the documents show.

"Defendant, heretofore on or about August 3, 2019, did then and there unlawfully, threaten to commit an offense involving, namely, a Bombing upon George Bush Intercontinental Airport and aircraft located in Harris County, Texas with the intent to cause impairment and interruption of public transportation, place the public in fear of serious bodily injury, and place a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury," the court document says.

Snapchat provided GPS coordinates for many of Fonseca's previous posts in Humble, Texas, and FBI agents went to the location on Aug. 4, where they were directed to a friend of Fonseca. The friend, in the presence of his parents, even said he knew the reason the agents came to his home was due to Fonseca's threatening posts, the charging document describes.

The friend confirmed the Snapchat user account belonged to Fonseca and authorities even matched the passport seen in one of the threatening posts to the suspect.

Fonseca returned from Guatemala on Aug. 10, according to the documents. He was arrested and charged with the third-degree felony of making a terroristic threat after he returned home.

"What everyone needs to know is that we take threats of mass violence seriously -- especially when they involve airports, schools and other public, weapon-free places," Harris County District Attorney Dane Schiller said in a statement. "Houston Police filed charges with prosecutors after receiving information from FBI and Customs and Border Protection agents, who investigated a tip regarding a planned act of violence directed toward Bush Intercontinental Airport."

Fonseca made his first court appearance on Tuesday, where prosecutors were criticized by Harris County magistrate Lisa Porter. She questioned if he was "just a kid popping off" and wondered aloud why they didn't search his home for bomb-making materials according to the Houston Chronicle.

He is being held on $10,000 bond.

The teen faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

In the charging documents, the FBI admitted the airport would have been shut down if it had been made aware of the threats before Fonseca left the country.

ABC News' Cherise Rudy contributed to this report.