The US Attorney's Office for the District of Kansas announced in a Monday statement that 24-year-old Jarrett William Smith had pleaded guilty to “distributing information related to explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction.”
The release stated the FBI was first alerted that Smith, who joined the US Army on June 12, 2017, had been giving guidance to others on how to “construct improvised explosive devices” via social media.
On September 20, 2019, an undercover FBI agent received instructions for making an explosive device and a recipe for improvised napalm from Smith, who was then stationed at Fort Riley in Kansas.
“Did you provide this information with the intent that the person would use it?” US District Judge Daniel Crabtree asked Smith on Monday, according to the Associated Press. Smith confirmed with a “yes.”
By pleading guilty in front of Crabtree on February 10, Smith was able to avoid a separate felony charge that stemmed from a threat to burn down the home of an individual affiliated with the anti-fascist - or “antifa” - movement.
He had previously pleaded not guilty to the bomb-making instructions charges in September 2019, but his lawyer announced in January that he had expressed intent to change his plea, reported the Associated Press. During Smith’s September trial, Assistant US Attorney Anthony Mattivi cited an affidavit that said the US Army soldier told the undercover FBI agent that he released the information on explosives “for the glory of his Satanist religion.”
According to the plea agreement, Smith confessed that not only had he “disseminated guidance to others” on social media concerning the construction of improvised explosives, but he also informed others about his desire to travel to Ukraine and take up arms with “a violent, far-right paramilitary group.” That group was later identified as the Azov Battalion.
Sentencing in the trial is slated for May 18, and Smith faces up to 25 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for each count.