Former Mass. sheriff's deputy threatened to burn down court house, kill security, feds say

Joshua Ford, formerly a deputy with the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office, is facing federal charges after allegedly threatening to burn down the Plymouth County Courthouse and kill court security officers

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A former sheriff's deputy has been indicted on federal charges after authorities say he threatened to burn down a Massachusetts courthouse and kill security officers working there.

The office of acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy said 42-year-old Joshua Ford of Kingston, a deputy with the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office between 2009 and 2017, made violent threats against the Plymouth County Courthouse.



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Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that Ford is in state custody and is set to appear in U.S. District Court in Boston at some point in the future.

On March 13, Ford is accused of sending 12 emails to about 140 people, mostly including Massachusetts law enforcement officers.

According to prosecutors, the emails contained the same text, reading, "[There] is no more justice system anymore just WAR," and "I am calling on all able bodied officers my brothers in blue to suit up for a fight."

Then, prosecutors say, he told the emails' recipients to bring firearms and armored vehicles, and that "Tomorrow we burn down the Plymouth County Court house to the ground."

In videos posted to YouTube and BitChute, a lightly-moderated video site often used by right-wing extremists, prosecutors say Ford used threatening language about officers with the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office.

"I'm f****** coming. I'm f****** coming, and hell's f****** coming with me," he said, according to Levy's office. "I'm going to f****** get every last one of you mother******s. I know where you work. And I am coming to get you."

He also allegedly said he would "break the arms and legs of every court officer" and "kill" the security officers working at the Plymouth County Courthouse.

"Ford also allegedly exhorted other law enforcement officers to assist him by bringing guns, gasoline, C-4, armored personnel carriers and SWAT teams to his confrontation, which he scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on March 14, 2023," Levy's office said in a press release. "Instead, local law enforcement arrested Ford on March 13, 2023 after the emails were sent."

The indictment announced Wednesday charges Ford with three counts of interstate transmission of a threatening communication. If convicted, each charge carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

"The threats made by this former employee against our Middlesex Sheriff's Office staff and court personnel in Plymouth County were alarming and deeply disturbing," the office of Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian said in a statement Wednesday. "We are grateful to our local law enforcement partners who acted swiftly to take Mr. Ford into custody, as well as to the FBI and US Attorney's Office who have now secured this federal indictment."

It was not immediately clear if Ford had an attorney who could answer to the charges.

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