School arrest linked to explosives, terror threat case - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

School arrest linked to explosives, terror threat case

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Jake Howell (LVMPD) Jake Howell (LVMPD)

FBI concerns about a retaliatory attack on a school sparked the arrest of a teenage former student on the campus of a valley high school, a police report released Thursday states.

Jake Howell, 18, was arrested on Dec. 21 for having a gun on the campus of Northwest Technical Academy on Tropical Parkway near Durango Drive in Las Vegas.

Clark County School District police said an officer arrived at the school that day based on a tip that friends of former student Steven Fernandes may have been plotting an attack against the school.

Fernandes is currently in federal custody. He is being investigated for unlawful possession of firearms, possession of explosive materials and terrorist threats.

It was suggested that the suspected attack was being planned in retaliation for Fernandes' incarceration.

When police learned that Howell was on campus, he was detained and officers discovered an SKS rifle, ammunition rounds, a bayonet, knife, military uniforms and survival materials such as food, water, a stove, a shovel and other items in his vehicle.

Howell told police that he and Fernandes had formed a militia group known as the 327th Recon Unit of Nevada. He also stated that he had no intention of carrying out an attack at the school and was merely there to visit friends and former teachers as well as show off his recently acquired rifle.

Howell was booked into Clark County Detention Center on five counts of possession of a dangerous weapon on school property.

Fernandes' attorney, Crystal Eller, told FOX5 that her client had not had any contact with Howell since his arrest on Sept. 13.

"I know for certain that Steven (Fernandes) has not been in contact with Jake Howell," Eller told FOX5 Thursday.

Eller said Fernandes is not being investigated for terrorist threats which was listed in the Clark County School District police report.

"He has not been charged with anything that is even in the ball park of a terrorist threat," said Eller.

The FBI said it could not confirm or deny any details about Fernandes' case to FOX5.

Meanwhile, Eller said the 327th Recon Unit of Nevada is more of a social club than a violent gang.

"Three to five guys out there in the desert, hiking, camping, hanging out, basically playing army," Eller said.

The report also stated another unnamed friend of Fernandes apparently emailed a teacher asking if he could wear camouflage to protect the school on Dec. 21.

"There's no information about where these allegations came from that there's some sort of a plot for revenge. And it sounds like they're talking about the same kids that said can we guard the school," Eller said.

Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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