A Florida man pleaded guilty to threatening to bomb a local mosque in a “hate-filled and profanity-laden voicemail message,” federal prosecutors said.
Dustin Allen Hughes, a 26-year-old from Cutler Bay, faces up to 20 years in prison for the federal hate crime. He pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs through the threatened use of a dangerous weapon and explosive.
Prosecutors in Miami said Hughes made the threatening phone call to Jamaat Ul Muttaqeen Mosque in Pembroke Pines on May 5, days before the start of Ramadan. He reportedly left a profanity-filled voicemail message in which he denigrated Muslims and said, “I planted a bomb in your temple.”
“Where you guys have your sanctuary and worship Allah, I’m gonna blow that mother fucker up,” Hughes said in the voicemail, according to prosecutors. “You guys are all going to be up in flames after I’m done with you.”
Law enforcement swept the mosque for explosives but found none.
Hughes was arrested on May 15. The man indicated to investigators that he had left the message to scare and upset mosque members.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg said Friday that his office is committed to protecting Florida residents’ right to freely practice their religion.
“Obstructing this right, by force or threat of force, constitutes a hate crime that we will continue to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” Greenberg said in a statement.
Hughes’ sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 6.