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EDC ticket-holder arrested on terrorist threats against festival

A ticket-holder to the Electric Daisy Carnival made vague terrorism threats about the festival through social media, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Hours before the event began on Friday, police said, 29-year-old Abraham Hurtado-Castrejon took to Instagram referring to “fentanyl balloons” at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway festival grounds, and “you just pop em and BOOM.”

Fentanyl is a powerful, powdery synthetic opioid which is potentially lethal at two millograms, according to Drug Enforcement Administration.

After the festival was canceled last year because of the pandemic, organizers offered Hurtado-Castrejon a refund, police said, and he allegedly replied “its to [sic] late to try to fix it,” along with what a series of emojis, including a skull and an upside down face.

Hurtado-Castrejon told police he never received a refund. But in an email to the Review-Journal on Thursday, a public relations firm wrote: “Despite what is claimed by this individual, Insomniac has records of a refund provided to him in May 2020.”

Hurtado-Castrejon was arrested on one count each of making terrorist threats and illegally possessing a firearm, both felonies, and booked Saturday into the Clark County Detention Center, jail logs show.

On Tuesday, he was ordered released on house arrest while he awaits a February preliminary hearing in North Las Vegas Justice Court, records show. A lawyer for Hurtado-Castrejon could not be reached Thursday.

A social media coordinator for Insomniac — the electronic dance music festival’s parent company, which attracted a sold-out crowd of more than 450,000 attendees from Friday to Sunday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway — reported the threats to Metro.

Hurtado-Castrejon had tagged the fesitval’s CEO Pascuale Rotella in an Instagram post, according to police.

In the post, police said, a man’s voice could be heard speaking about a refund, while using expletives and a racist epithet to highlight the fentanyl threat.

The garbled message quoted in the arrest report did not make clear who would pop the supposed drug-filled balloons.

On the Instagram profile, police found photos of Hurtado-Castrejon, and one he posted the previous day of a pickup truck that showed its Nevada license plate, according to the report. That led investigators to an address in North Las Vegas.

Other photos showed Hurtado-Castrejon cleaning guns, police said.

His arrest report referred to at least one case against him that involved possession of an illegal and poisonous chemical, but police redacted a summary of the case.

Insomniac confirmed that Hurtado-Castrejon had a festival ticket for Friday night, prompting police to move quickly based on his history of “dealing with poison-like substances,” the report said.

North Las Vegas Police on Friday evening detained Hurtado-Castrejon outside a grocery store in the 2300 block of East Cheyenne Avenue, hours after the threat was reported.

When asked if he knew why police had stopped him, he reportedly responded: “Because of the EDC event.”

Hurtado-Castrejon later told Metro counterterrorism detectives he had not planned to carry out the threat, noting that he only wanted to scare EDC organizers into giving him a refund.

He reportedly told the detectives about his “vendetta” against the festival, which began after they refused to refund his ticket for the event that the pandemic canceled last year.

Hurtado0-Castrejon, an undocumented immigrant, told police that he owned an AR-15-style rifle, which detectives later found in his bedroom, along with gun parts, the report said. Police said he was prohibited from owning firearms because of his immigration status.

Court records showed that Hurtado-Castrejon lived with his parents and that he earns money cleaning other people’s guns which could explain the photos police found on his Instagram account, logs show.

At a Tuesday hearing, a judge ordered that Hurtado-Castrejon not handle any guns.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.

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