FILE - In this May 14, 2013, file photo, the Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington is photographed early in the morning. The Justice Department said Monday, Aug. 9, 2021, that it would work toward providing families of 9/11 victims with more information about the run-up to the attacks as part of a federal lawsuit that aims to hold the Saudi government accountable. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

FILE - In this May 14, 2013, file photo, the Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington is photographed early in the morning. The Justice Department said Monday, Aug. 9, 2021, that it would work toward providing families of 9/11 victims with more information about the run-up to the attacks as part of a federal lawsuit that aims to hold the Saudi government accountable. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

Kasilof man indicited for interstate death threats

A Kasilof man arrested earlier this month in connection with sending interstate death threats was indicted by a federal grand jury in Alaska, the United States Department of Justice announced last week.

Benjamin Tarbell, 34, was charged with five counts of making interstate death threats and one count of cyberstalking, according to a release from the Department of Justice. Tarbell faces a maximum of five years in prison for each interstate death threat count and a maximum of 10 years in prison for the cyberstalking count, if convicted, the release says.

Tarbell moved to Kasilof from Vermont around April, according to an FBI special agent affidavit, and began making threats to people in Vermont and in other states in August. The affidavit specifically describes six threats made via text and Instagram messages between Aug. 4 and Sept. 3, including a call from Tarbell to the Massachusetts State Police in which he allegedly threatened to bomb the agency.

The charges outlined in the indictment describe threats made to five victims, in which Tarbell is charged with messaging phrases including, “You will die,” “I’m going to kill you,” and, “say your goodbyes,” among other things. Four out of the five witnesses identified in the affidavit said they believed Tarbell would follow through with the threats.

Tarbell was arrested at the Kenai Municipal Airport on Sept. 10 as he was checking into his flight to Vermont, according to the Department of Justice release. Tarbell was in possession of a rifle, two handguns, ammunition, two knives and a tactical vest when he was arrested, the release said. Flight records show Tarbell was confirmed to fly to Burlington on Sept. 11 from Kenai Municipal Airport, with stops in Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Tarbell made his first court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matthew M. Scoble of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska, the release said, and will remain detained pending trial, according to the release. Tarbell is in federal custody, the release said.

The case is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Michael Heyman, and is being investigated by the FBI with support from the Alaska State Troopers, Vermont State Police and the Massachusetts State Police, according to the release.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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