Morning Canary – Midweek Updates & Early Morning News Roundup

Canary. Photo by 4028mdk09.


In a November TNB Morning Carnary news round up, it was reported the Motel 6 chain agreed to settle a suit filed in Arizona for $7.6 million.

The Associated Press now reports that in a second case the Motel 6 national chain “agreed Thursday to pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Washington state claiming names of hotel guests were improperly provided to immigration officials for two years, the state attorney general said.”

The information led to targeted investigations by U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who went after people with Latino-sounding names, Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.

Some people staying at seven Motel 6 locations in the state were detained or deported, he said.

“Motel 6′s actions tore families apart and violated the privacy rights of tens of thousands of Washingtonians,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Our resolution holds Motel 6 accountable for illegally handing over guests’ private information without a warrant.”

The company said in an email that it will enforce its guest privacy policy, which prohibits the sharing of guest information except in cases where a judicially enforceable warrant or subpoena is present or local law requires release of the information.

The Los Angeles, California man Tyler Barriss whose “swatting” hoax call to police in Wichita, KS on December 28 resulted in an innocent man’s death when Andrew Finch was fatally shot by police on the steps of his home has now been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, according to the press release from U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Kansas, the Washington Post reported.

In November (TNB link), Barris pleaded guilty to 51 federal charges, from prosecutors from Los Angeles, Kansas and Washington, D.C., involving fake bomb threats, murders and other violence reported at schools, shopping centers, TV stations, homes and government buildings across the country.”

The other two defendants involved in the hoax Casey Viner, 18, of North College Hill, Ohio and Shane Gaskill, 20, of Wichita, KS, are still awaiting their own trials.

Released 911 call.

In a separate case, an Ohio teen was arrested earlier this month and faces 73 charges in accused “swatting” hoaxes and “pranks” in upstate New York and across the country, according to CNN and Washington County Insider reports.

The then 17-year-old boy – who has been identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who was arrested and charged with capital murder in the state of Texas for the fatal Santa Fe, Texas school shooting (TNB) of 10 people, 8 students and 2 teachers, and wounding 13 others, has now been charged with an additional “11 federal charges connected to the attack” his attorney confirmed to the Associated Press on Monday.

But it’s unclear what those new charges are because the federal case against Dimitrios Pagourtzis is sealed as a result of him being a minor when the shooting took place last year. The charges come after the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas had previously said it would not be pursuing a case against Pagourtzis, who already is charged in state court.

Pagourtzis was taken into federal custody Monday morning and appeared in court later in the day in Galveston.

As of last month, the US Attorney’s Office in Houston had said federal charges against Pagourtzis would not be likely, considering the Texas state charges of capital murder, but one of his attorneys, Nick Poehl, said, “Something changed and I don’t know what it is.”

However, Poehl did say that he has been told “authorities plan to certify Pagourtzis as an adult in federal court.”

According to an Associated Press report out of Dallas, Texas, “a suburban Dallas teenager has pleaded guilty to plotting an Islamic State group-inspired mass shooting at a North Texas mall” and has been “sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday for solicitation of capital murder and making a terroristic threat, according to an announcement made by state and federal prosecutors. 

A state judge sentenced Matin Azizi-Yarand to 20 years in prison Monday for solicitation of capital murder and making a terroristic threat, state and federal prosecutors announced. The 18-year-old is eligible for parole after serving 10 years.

Azizi-Yarand was arrested last May for plotting to shoot civilians and police at a Frisco mall in a rampage authorities said he was timing to coincide with Ramadan. IS has called on its supporters to carry out attacks during the Muslim holy month.

The then-high school student had been recruiting others to participate in the shooting and planned to explain it with the release of a “Message to America,” according to prosecutors. He spent more than $1,400 buying weapons and tactical gear, and had been conducting surveillance of the mall.

Azizi-Yarand was indicted in July , but his age presented a challenge for prosecutors.

Terrorism cases are typically brought in federal court. But because Azizi-Yarand was 17 at the time of the crime and a minor under federal law, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas was limited in the charges they could bring against him.

It’s “extremely rare” for someone to be prosecuted for terrorism charges state court, U.S. Attorney Joseph Brown said Monday at a press conference.

Azizi-Yarand will be eligible for parole in 10 years.

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