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California man sentenced after threatening West Michigan woman on Facebook

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Posted at 9:33 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 21:33:25-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that Juan Lara-Lopez, 34, of South Gate, California was sentenced to 30 months of confinement by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker for making on Facebook an interstate threat to injure a woman residing in West Michigan.

Lara-Lopez also received 3 years of supervised release to follow his release from confinement. Lara-Lopez admitted at the plea hearing that he posted the Facebook threat from his California residence.

The Facebook posting included a threat in the Spanish language, stating: “I am paying 3 thousand dollars to whomever can give me the exact address where this whore [Victim 1] is and . . . I will go after her . . . .”

Lara-Lopez also made a number of additional threatening social media postings as relevant conduct to the charged offense.

At the sentencing hearing, Chief Judge Jonker sentenced Lara-Lopez above the Guideline confinement range because the threats were designed to scare and humiliate the victim, were made repeatedly over an extended period, and were leaked beyond the victim to frighten others in the community as well as the victim.

“These Facebook postings were designed to intimidate and terrorize the victim," Birge said. "Our efforts today recognize that no one deserves online harassment with threats to injure, torture, and kill."

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations – Grand Rapids. Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay M. West prosecuted the case.