DENVER — This week, the U.S. Attorney in Colorado announced the arrest of a man accused of plotting to blow up a synagogue in Pueblo.
Richard Holzer will be in federal court again on Thursday.
According to the arrest affidavit, Holzer met with several undercover FBI agents over the course of a month. After Holzer mentioned explosives, the affidavit said undercover agents suggested they could get bombs and dynamite.
The agents delivered inert bombs to Holzer and arrest him, according to the affidavit.
WHERE’S THE LINE FOR UNDERCOVER AGENTS IN AN INVESTIGATION LIKE THIS?
Former Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Denver office, Bob Pence, couldn’t speak specifically about the Holzer case but said undercover agents have to be mindful of entrapment.
He told 9NEWS reporter Steve Staeger the FBI has a robust system of supervisors and attorneys to make sure agents don’t cross the line.
“It’s the lawyers who watch each step of an undercover operation and will advise whether or not taking that step or that step is going to be kind of closing that line for entrapment,” Pence said.
The agents are looking at and documenting the pre-disposition of the subject of the investigation.
“It has to be there, that that person wants to hire someone to kill his wife, that wants to acquire explosives for a bombing,” he said.
In all of his time with the FBI, Pence said he saw many defendants try to use entrapment in court, but never once saw that defense hold water with the judge.
“Believe me – there are so many eyes watching every step we make on that,” Pence said.
WHY DID THE AUTHORITIES RELEASE SO MUCH INFORMATION ABOUT HOW THIS CASE WAS INVESTIGATED?
Immediately following Holzer’s first court appearance, the U.S. Attorney, the FBI and Pueblo Police held a news conference with much detail about the investigation.
Many have wondered why they were so detailed.
“There’s an effort on the part of law enforcement now to be more transparent,” Pence said.
He also said the strong statement may serve as a warning to anyone else considering something like this.
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