SWATTER? Just what I was wondering as I heard the news report while driving. Then the point became clear – a “swatter” is a person who makes a false emergency report to police to cause a SWAT team to be some of the first responders.
Guadalupe Santana Martinez and others made phone calls to 911 while spoofing the caller I.D. of someone for the purpose of harassment, intimidation or extortion. “Spoofing” refers to the modification of caller I.D. information to conceal the true identity of a caller. Calls to 911 were made with spoofed caller I.D. information by using commercial spoof cards and other means to convince first responders that the emergency call was really coming from the victim’s residence.
Other members of the conspiracy have pled guilty to their roles. In June 2007, four coconspirators of Martinez were indicted in a separate case. The lead defendant in that case, Stuart Rosoff, a/k/a “Michael Knight,” of Cleveland, Ohio, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to use access devices to modify telecommunications instruments and to access protected telecommunications computers. Rosoff’s co-defendants, Jason Trowbridge, a/k/a “Jason from California” and “John from California,” and Angela Roberson, a/k/a “Amber” and “Lil Miss Angela,” were arrested in June in Houston, Texas. Co-defendant Chad Ward, a/k/a “Dark Angel,” was also arrested in June, in Syracuse, New York.
On October 1, 2006, Martinez called the 911 non-emergency services telephone number of the Fort Worth, Texas, Police Department and identified himself as he did on June 12, 2006, when he called the Alvarado, Texas, Police Department. He stated that he had shot and killed members of the family, that he was holding hostages, that he was using hallucinogenic drugs, and that he was armed. Martinez told the dispatcher that he would kill the remaining hostages if his demands were not met. Martinez placed the call using a combination of a VoIP phone and a spoof card to conceal his true identity and make it appear as if the 911 calls were true emergency call placed from the family’s residence.
According to documents filed in the cases, as a result of the swatting telephone calls, at least two victims received injuries. Rosoff admitted knowing that injuries were received by an infirm, elderly male who resided in New Port Richey, Florida, and a male who lived in Syracuse, New York, and that as a result of the swatting activities resulting in a SWAT response, i.e., road closings, etc., normal municipal activities were disrupted in Yonkers, New York, Snohomish County, Washington, and other locations due to the false emergency calls.
So for the “fun” of SWATTING Martinez will spend 30 months in federal prison. And, he was the first to be sentenced for this crime.
Doubt he’ll find that fun. He’ll get up at 6:00 a.m. each day – eat when told to – then go to work – cleaning toilets, etc. for 12 cents per hour. He will be a nobody when he enters and unless he finds prison a place to go within and learn, he will leave a nobody.
How do I know this – not proud to say – but I’ve been there. Prison was the lowest point of my life. Yet, it was one of the best experiences I have had in that it helped me go within and found out what it means to be somebody. Today, I speak to groups – especially young people about choices and consequences. Perhaps, Martinez will learn more about himself and leave his prison confines a person who will use his skills to better others. Perhaps!