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El Paso trucker arrested in alleged YouTube threat against Black Lives Matter supporters

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An El Paso truck driver was arrested this week after he allegedly made threats on YouTube about shooting Black Lives Matter supporters, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

Manuel Flores, 42, is charged with one count of transmitting threatening communications, a felony that carries up to five years in prison. 

A criminal complaint said the FBI received a tip on Saturday about a YouTube video threatening to shoot Black people in the Dallas area. The video showed a man from the knees down with what appeared to be an AR-15 rifle at his feet, the complaint said.

“I just wanted to make a real quick video for all you (racist slur) that seem to be on timeout,” the voice in the video said, according to the complaint. He said he planned to drive from “Midland/West Texas” to Dallas via Interstate 20 on Monday and said “my dream is to take out at least 200 (racist slur), (expletive) savages out.”

A YouTube account allegedly owned by Manuel Flores, 42, of El Paso has a variety of videos featuring a Texas flag inside a truck cab, with the narrator sharing unfounded coronavirus conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic statements.

FBI investigators traced the YouTube account to Flores, who had a California phone number but was living in El Paso, the complaint said. Agents interviewed Flores at his home at 3 a.m. Sunday.

Flores told investigators that he had been a tractor-trailer operator since 2008. He confirmed owning the YouTube account and making the video on Saturday after consuming eight or nine India Pale Ale beers, the complaint said.

Flores told agents he loved the country and was upset about what is going on right now. They said he was remorseful and apologetic. They found an AR-15 in his bedroom.

The agents had him delete the threatening video from his YouTube account, according to the complaint. 

Other videos still on the account reviewed by El Paso Matters show a camera trained on a Texas flag inside a truck cab. The narrator acknowledges being an alcoholic in one video and makes anti-Semitic statements in another. 

The narrator claims to be a veteran of five years in the infantry and speaks of intelligence agencies looking for him. He makes repeated unfounded claims about the coronavirus.

Agents did not arrest Flores after the Sunday morning interview. They called him at about 1 p.m. and he told them that he was driving his truck and was about 200 miles west of Dallas.

Flores was arrested by the FBI in Dallas on Monday without incident, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Our office will treat any threats of violence against protesters extremely seriously,” John Bash, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, said in a tweet

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Robert Moore

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986. His work has received a number of top journalism honors including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Pulitzer Prize finalist and the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award. Moore’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, Texas Monthly, ProPublica, National Public Radio, The Guardian and other publications. He has been featured as an expert on border issues by CNN, MSNBC, BBC, CBC and PBS.

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