'It was just a stupid joke': Teen says bomb threats before boarding plane were in jest

By Cory McCord - Digital News Editor, Phil Archer - Reporter

HOUSTON - “It was just a joke. It was just a stupid joke.”

That's what 17-year-old Hector Fernando Fonseca said about his posts to Snapchat earlier this month.

He's accused of posting a pair of threatening messages to the social media app before he, his father and a church group boarded a flight to Guatemala on Aug. 3

What did the threats say?

According to court documents, while Fonseca was waiting to board a flight from George Bush Intercontinental Airport, he posted two selfies with threatening messages to Snapchat.

The first one read, "blown this **** up," court documents said. The post also included the airport as the location where it was posted. The caption also had a smiley face emoji and bomb emoji next to the words, authorities said.

The second one read, "time to blow up the plane," officials said. It also included the smiley face and bomb emojis, according to court documents.

How did the FBI find out?

Snapchat alerted the FBI and the day after the posts were made, agents were able to trace the messages to Fonseca's account.

By that time, he was already in Guatemala.

When Fonseca returned to Houston a week later, FBI agents were waiting for him.

He is now charged with making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony.

What the judge said

At a hearing on Sunday, prosecutors asked for Fonseca to be held without bond.

Instead, the hearing officer set his bond at $10,000.

The hearing officer also questioned the veracity of the threat the teen is accused of posting to the app.

"It's unlikely he was going to blow up the airport he was at. I think he’s just a kid popping off, but I'm not 100% sure. I’d like to know if he has any bomb-making ability. Maybe get a search warrant and go over there and check that out?” Lisa Porter said.

If convicted, Fonseca could receive up to 10 years in prison.

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