FORT RILEY, Kansas (WMBF/KWCH/Gray News) – An Army soldier accused of planning to build a bomb and target a news network or nearby cell tower has ties to the Grand Strand area.
Jarrett William Smith, 24, was in federal court Monday morning, where he was charged with one count of distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction.
Smith was based at Fort Riley in Kansas.
WMBF News’ sister station, KWCH, reached out to Fort Riley and learned that Smith and his family are from Conway. According to Horry County Schools, a former student named Jarrett Smith was a 2014 graduate of Carolina Forest High School.
According to undercover agents, Smith posted on Facebook that he wanted to go to Ukraine to fight with a paramilitary group called the Azov Battalion.
Court papers show that Smith was reported to have taken part in a Facebook group chat where he gave out information on how to construct Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
“Oh yeah, I got knowledge of IEDs for days. We can make cell phone IEDs in the style of the Afghans. I can teach you that…” Smith is accused of saying in the group chat.
The criminal complaint goes on to say that Smith provided instructions on how to construct a cell phone detonator for an IED.
On August 19, Smith spoke with a confidential source and discussed a plan to attack the United States and “that he was looking for more ‘radicals’ like himself, court documents state. The documents go on to say that Smith talked about killing members of the far-left group, Antifa, as well as destroying nearby cell towers on local news stations.
A couple of days later, Smith told the confidential source that the headquarters of an American news network would be a suggested target to use a vehicle bomb, according to the criminal complaint. The major news network was not named in court documents.
Federal agents arrested Smith on Saturday. If convicted, Smith could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.