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Benton Man Charged with Terrorism after Police Investigate Emailed Extortion Threat

Benjamin Spears, 33, jailed on $250,000 bond.
BENTON, AR - A Benton man is charged with terrorism after the investigation of an extortion threat that was emailed to police.

The Benton Police Department says it received the threatening email from a "disguised sender" on April 11th.

Police say the sender demanded a large amount of cash and gave specific directions on how to transfer it to them. The sender indicated that if their directions weren’t followed they would kill one person every day until their demands were met. 

Benton Police called in the FBI in an effort to quickly determine who the suspect was.

On April 13th, a state search warrant was executed at 1325 S. Summit Road in Benton in relation to the case. Benjamin Spears, 33, was taken into custody from the home without incident.

Police say a large quantity of electronic devices and other related items were seized from the home as part of the investigation.  

In addition to terrorism, Spears is charged with criminal attempt to commit theft of property and computer fraud.

His bond was set at $250,000 during a hearing on Monday. 

The Benton Police Department says the investigation continues and upon further inspection of the evidence there could be more charges filed against Spears. Although it’s believed there was only one suspect in this case, police are asking anybody with information about the crime to call them at (501) 778-1171 or (501) 315-TIPS. Anonymous text messages may also be sent to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD in the body of the text.
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