Texas Man Sentenced in Attempted Firebombing of El Paso Islamic Center

July 11, 2005

The Justice Department announced recently that Antonio Flores was sentenced to 171 months imprisonment for attempting to firebomb the Islamic Center of El Paso in El Paso, Texas.

“This kind of conduct is unconscionable, and the Justice Department will vigorously prosecute any individual who attempts to intimidate his fellow citizen through such abhorrent behavior,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Bradley Schlozman. “We are gratified that the court recognized the gravity of this offense and imposed such a significant and appropriate sentence.”

On March 22, 2005, Flores pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to violating 18 U.S.C. § 247, which prohibits damaging or attempting to damage religious property, and 18 U.S.C. § 844(h), which prohibits the use of fire or an explosive device in the commission of a felony. At his plea hearing, Flores reportedly admitted that he threw a Molotov cocktail at the Islamic Center and placed a second, similar device near a gas meter on the Center’s property.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Phillip Martinez imposed a sentence of 171 months incarceration and 3 years supervised release.

“Mr. Flores’ behavior was reprehensible and put the lives of innocent children at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton. “Today’s sentence shows that this behavior will be severely punished.”

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