Cell tower arsonist pleads guilty to 8 counts in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — A San Antonio man is pleading guilty to accusations he tried to burn cell phone towers and had a gun he was not supposed to have.

A release from the U. S. Department of Justice shows Sean Aaron Smith, 29, pleaded guilty to two indictments related to arson and felon in possession of a firearm in a San Antonio federal court on Thursday.

Court documents show that Smith tried to damage or destroy multiple telephone towers around San Antonio between April 2021 and May 2022.

On May 13, 2022, police found a gun on the floorboard of Smith’s car during a traffic stop. After a subsequent search warrant was executed at his apartment, more guns were found despite the fact Smith had previous felony convictions resulting in prison time.

Smith pleaded guilty to six counts of arson of cellphone towers and two counts of felon in possession of a firearm. He faces a penalty of five to 20 years in prison for each charge related to arson, and up to 10 years in prison for each firearm possession charge.

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Oliver E. Rich Jr. for the FBI San Antonio Division made the announcement.

The San Antonio Fire Department Arson squad, FBI, San Antonio Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, and Texas Rangers are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Roomberg is prosecuting the case.

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