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Texas man charged with planning to blow up Amazon data center in Virginia

The Wichita Falls man was arrested Thursday after receiving a fake bomb from an FBI undercover employee.
Image:; Amazon's data center in Ashburn, Va.
Amazon's data center in Ashburn, Va.Michael Kosnar / NBC News

The FBI arrested a Texas man Thursday on charges of hatching a plan to blow up an Amazon data center in Virginia.

Seth Aaron Pendley, 28, of Wichita Falls was taken into custody Thursday after receiving what he thought was a bomb from a like-minded person, but it was actually a dud provided by an FBI undercover employee.

Court documents say Pendley came to the FBI’s attention after agents received a tip that he was posting alarming statements on a forum popular with militia groups, He began communicating through an encrypted messaging app with another person, who told the FBI that Pendley planned to use plastic explosives to attack the tech company’s data centers “to kill about 70% of the internet.”

The FBI says he told the undercover operative that he wanted to attack the data centers because he thought they served the FBI, CIA and other federal agencies.

Pendley was arrested in Fort Worth after he received what he thought was an explosive device and put it into his car. A court document said he admitted to having orchestrated the plan. A search of his home turned up hand-drawn maps related to the plan, the FBI said. Pendley did not possess any actual explosive material, the document said.

Court documents say he was also present at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, but a law enforcement official said there’s no indication that he entered the building.