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Florida man repeatedly threatened to blow up a mosque, the FBI says

Posted at 9:17 AM, May 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-17 12:17:35-04

A South Florida man is accused of leaving multiple voicemails saying he would blow up a mosque days before Ramadan. The way officials found him? They checked caller ID.

Dustin Hughes, 26, is alleged to have called Jamaat Ul Muttaqeen Mosque in Pembroke Pines, Florida, four times in a week. Hughes made the first call on May 5, claiming he had planted a bomb in the mosque and planned on detonating it, according to a federal complaint.

"I planted a bomb in your temple, I'm gonna blow your f------ temple up you f----- Muslim piece of s---," Hughes allegedly said in the first voicemail. He continued, "You guys wanna come here and cause mayhem to America, well I'm gonna cause mayhem to your religion 'cause your religion is nothing but lies. Lies, lies, lies from the devil! Where's Allah now?"

Tracking the caller

Police in Pembroke Pines, roughly 23 miles north of Miami, responded to the mosque and confirmed there were no explosives planted.

During their investigation, officers noticed the digital caller ID listed the man's name as Dustin Hughes, according to the federal complaint.

Throughout the week, Hughes allegedly continued to leave threatening voicemails from his own phone, even admitting on one recording that he had been responsible for multiple calls, officials said.

"Yeah this is me again, I have the f------ bomb detonator in there right now and I'm gonna set it off," one of the messages said.

The arrest

The FBI arrested Hughes at his Cutler Bay home on May 15, the first day of Ramadan. When FBI agents interviewed Hughes and told him that the voicemails scared people at the mosque, Hughes allegedly clapped and expressed his approval.

Authorities charged Hughes with willfully making a bomb threat by telephone. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, according to the Department of Justice.

Hughes' next detention hearing is scheduled for May 22 before a US magistrate judge.

The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says it welcomes the arrest.

"It is shameful and alarming to continue witnessing an increment in hate crimes against Florida Muslims and their places of worship and education," chapter spokesman Wilfredo Amr Ruiz said in a news release.

CNN has reached out to the public defender assigned to Hughes' case but has not heard back.