How the FBI captured the El Paso Walmart threat suspect in a day

El Paso Strong

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — It took the FBI less than a day to track down and arrest the man accused of making threats against El Paso Walmart stores last week, according to court records.

Convicted felon Alex Barron, 29, had his first hearing Monday in federal court after his arrest Friday in Horizon City.

Surveillance and arrest

According to a criminal complaint obtained by KTSM, El Paso FBI agents on Thursday “were notified of a potential threatening message posted by an Instagram account user utilizing the name ‘ab15alday.'”

The post included an image of an AR-15 style rifle and hashtags that read #elpasostrong, #watchoutwalmartimcoming, and #droplikeflys.

Agents said the post was made around 7 p.m. Thursday.

The document states agents reviewed the account and found similar posts dating back to May 4.

According to the complaint, agents then got in touch with Facebook (the owner of Instagram) and requested the user’s email address which they learned contained the words “alex barron.”

Agents tracked the Internet Protocol (IP) address for the account which led them to a T-Mobile wireless account. Using location data, the FBI was able to track the phone, itself, to a physical address in Horizon City.

The complaint states that around 3:45 p.m. on Friday, agents with the FBI, ATF, and Texas DPS officers began surveillance on the Horizon City home and soon spotted a man matching Barron’s description pull up in a pickup.

After a obtaining a warrant, agents took the suspect into custody.

Weapons discovery

According to the document, the FBI was able to tie Barron to a pair of other addresses; one in Chaparral, N.M., and one in El Paso.

The FBI said agents discovered Barron had received firearms components in the mail at the Chaparral address, and — after speaking with witnesses — learned he had given weapons to others, including a short-barreled shotgun.

The complaint states agents also found three weapons in the truck at the Horizon City home, including a rifle with “a homemade suppressor” that was “fully automatic capable.”

Four other firearms, including another fully automatic capable weapon, were found at the El Paso address, the document alleges.

Prior conviction and next court hearing

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Barron’s criminal history revealed a 2012 felony conviction for drug-related offenses in El Paso County. The criminal complaint states he was sentenced to six months in prison.

On Monday, federal authorities formally charged Barron with possession of firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon and possession of a machine gun.

If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison for each of the firearms charges.

Court records state Barron is currently being held without bond but has a detention hearing in federal court at 2:30 p.m. Friday.

KTSM reached out to Barron’s attorney for comment but had yet to hear back as of Monday evening.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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