Homestead man arrested after Congressman Curbelo gets death threat on Twitter

Carlos Curbelo with his wife, Cecilia.
Carlos Curbelo with his wife, Cecilia. Miami Herald

A 19-year-old Homestead man was arrested Thursday after threatening Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo on Twitter on Wednesday, the same day packages suspected of containing explosive material were delivered to a host of liberal political figures around the country.

Curbelo initially addressed the threat directly on his Twitter account.

“Political intoxication is making some Americans more prone to both verbal and physical violence,” he tweeted. “It’s a serious crisis and we all have to do our part to put an end to it. Not sure what’s more disturbing; the fact that someone tweeted this or that 4 accounts liked it.”

Pierre Alejandro Verges-Castro, 19, was arrested by the FBI in conjunction with Capitol Police and the Homestead Police Department, according to law enforcement officials. Verges-Castro was charged with making written threats to kill. He was registered to vote as an independent in 2016, according to Miami-Dade County voting records.

The tweet to Curbelo, which was a non-specific death threat against the two-term congressman, was eventually deleted and the associated account was deleted as well. Curbelo will receive protection from law enforcement but is not expected to change his official schedule or any campaign-related events less than two weeks from Election Day.

“Earlier this week our office was made aware of a death threat directed at Congressman Curbelo through social media,” Curbelo’s office said in a statement. “Capitol Police was immediately notified and quickly identified the individual responsible. The Congressman’s home and our district office are being monitored by officers from the Miami-Dade Police Department. There are currently no changes expected to his schedule and he is expected to participate in tonight’s previously scheduled forum with the Kendall Federation. Law enforcement will be present.”

The threat came from an individual, not a bot or automated account. The individual who made the threat referred to himself as an “aspiring event photographer in the south florida area” on an archived version of his Twitter account.

“The Congressman and his family would like to thank U.S. Capitol Police and the Miami-Dade Police Department for their swift work to address the situation. All other questions should be referred to Capitol Police,” Curbelo’s office said in a statement.

A spokesperson for U.S. Capitol Police said they do not comment on ongoing investigations.

Curbelo’s office did not receive any of the suspicious packages Wednesday. U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Sunrise office was evacuated when a package suspected of containing explosive material meant for former Attorney General Eric Holder was sent there. The office was listed as the return address on the package.

The threat against Curbelo does not appear to be connected to the packages that targeted a host of liberal figures, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Alex Daugherty, @alextdaugherty, 202-383-6049