MCALLEN, TX — Fidel Salinas, 27, of Donna, has been charged in a superceding federal indictment with new computer-hacking charges, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Salinas was originally indicted in October of last year on one charge of attempting to gain unauthorized access to the Hidalgo County web server and, as a result, causing damage and loss of more than $5,000. Further investigation has resulted in the return of a superseding indictment, returned April 2, 2014, alleging 14 additional charges. He is excepted to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter E. Ormsby today at 8:45 a.m.
The additional counts allege that between November 2011 and January 2012, he repeatedly tried to gain unauthorized access to, cause damage to and obtain information from web servers hosting websites for Hidalgo County, La Joya Independent School District and The Monitor newspaper. Salinas allegedly belonged to a conspiracy related to the computer-hacking group “Anonymous” and that he entered into a chat room belonging to Anonymous’ Operation Anti-Security.
The FBI arrested Salinas in Donna 2013 upon the filing of a criminal complaint. According to that complaint, during the late evening of Jan. 4, 2012, through early morning Jan. 5, 2012, Salinas made more than 14,000 hacking attempts to the administration management page of the Hidalgo County web site server. This allegedly resulted in true administrators being unable to access their web site and the county incurring losses of more than $10,000 in responding to the attack. Following that alleged hacking incident, the FBI discovered Salinas had allegedly posted a quote used by Anonymous and other “hacktivist” groups on his Facebook page.
The maximum sentence varies for each count as charged in the indictment, reaching a maximum of up to 10 years in federal prison upon conviction on the most serious charge.
Each of the charges carry a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison, upon conviction.
The FBI is investigating with the assistance of the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Sully is prosecuting the case.