Phone Threats to Immigrant Advocates Alleged

Mario Quiroz, a CASA of Maryland staff member, said he received one of the threatening calls on his cellphone.
Mario Quiroz, a CASA of Maryland staff member, said he received one of the threatening calls on his cellphone. (By Alfredo Duarte Pereira -- El Tiempo Latino)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 15, 2008; Page B06

A 34-year-old Maryland man was arrested yesterday on charges of making bomb threats against CASA of Maryland, an immigrant advocacy group based in Silver Spring.

Wesley J. Queen II of Pasadena turned himself in to Montgomery County police and was being held on a $250,000 bond, authorities said. He faces two counts of "false statements -- threatening to use a destructive device" and two counts of telephone misuse.

CASA of Maryland runs four day-labor centers, where workers can gather while waiting to be picked up for jobs. On May 18, police said, Queen made telephone calls to CASA and to a CASA staff member's cellphone. The staff member, Mario Quiroz, said the caller told him, "You shouldn't be surprised if your places start blowing up in pieces," according to a police report on the incident.

Quiroz was able to provide police with a phone number that appeared on his caller ID, which was listed on the report. A phone call to that number yesterday yielded a voice mail announcement from "Jim Queen."

Quiroz said that a call was also made to CASA's 800 number and that a threatening message was left. Six of the 19 words were obscenities, and the caller said CASA should not be surprised if someone blows up one of its facilities.

Authorities in the District are investigating a third threatening call, also placed May 18, Quiroz said. The call was made to the Rev. Simón Bautista, vice president of CASA's board of directors, at a Washington number he uses for his work with the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, Quiroz said.

"Don't be surprised when there's a [expletive] bullet in the back of your [expletive] brain," the caller said in a message.

CASA of Maryland says it regularly receives angry e-mails and occasionally receives angry phone calls. The three telephone calls May 18, however, were more explicitly threatening than usual, CASA officials said. Quiroz said that he has heard the two voice mails and that the voice on them is similar to the one he heard on his cellphone.

A Montgomery police spokeswoman said detectives determined that Queen didn't have bombs at the time he made the threats.

At a hearing yesterday, Queen denied that he made the calls, Quiroz said.

Efforts to reach relatives of Queen were not successful yesterday. Online court records didn't list an attorney assigned to him.

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