Jake Benton Howell, 18, was arrested with an unloaded assault rifle at a Las Vegas high school on Dec. 21

A teenager arrested  last  week with an unloaded assault rifle at a Las Vegas high school has  been linked  by counterterrorism investigators to another local teen who  federal authorities  said stockpiled guns and explosives and spoke about  staging a mass casualty  attack.

Police already were  looking for 18-year-old Jake Benton Howell when he arrived at his  former school  on Dec. 21 with 40 rounds of ammunition and a 7.62mm SKS  rifle in the back seat  of his car, according to a police report released on Thursday.

Authorities had been  checking  reports that associates and friends of Steven Matthew Fernandes  planned  an action against the school, Northwest Career and Technical Academy,  as revenge for Fernandes being held in federal custody, according to the  police  report.

Jake Benton Howell, 18, was arrested with an unloaded assault rifle at a Las Vegas high school on Dec. 21

Howell’s name was on a  list  that police and school officials compiled of current and former students with whom Fernandes associated at the 1,900-student campus.

Howell, now a student at  Utah Valley University, was unarmed when he was  confronted by a school police  lieutenant. Police said he made no threats and caused no disturbance before his  arrest. He told authorities he  drove 400 miles from Orem, Utah, to visit  favorite former teachers.

‘Everything worked right,’  Clark County School District police Capt. Ken Young said on Thursday. ‘We were  looking into the rumors. Things came together and we were able to find a weapon  at the school without an incident.’

Howell later acknowledged  his friendship with Fernandes, who he identified as  the founder of a militia  group called the 327th Recon Unit of Nevada.  But he said he didn’t know of any  plot against the school.

Investigators also found a  compressed air pellet gun, camouflage backpacks and  military-style uniforms,  food, water and survival gear in Howell’s car.  He told investigators he  collected the items in anticipation of the  collapse of society.

Howell was arrested on  five charges of possession of a dangerous weapon on school grounds after police  seized the gun and ammunition, a 16-inch bayonet and three large survival-style  knives from the car. He was being held at the Clark  County jail in Las Vegas  pending a Jan. 8 court appearance.

Possession of a dangerous  weapon on school grounds is a gross misdemeanor in  Nevada that carries a  possible penalty of a year in jail and a $2,000  fine.

The Las Vegas  Review-Journal first reported the  link between the two students.

Fernandes, also a former  student at the high school, has been in federal custody  since his arrest Sept.  13 driving to work at a RadioShack. Police found a loaded shotgun and ammunition  in his car and reported seizing five  rifles, four handguns and thousands of  rounds of ammunition from his  home, along with ‘The Anarchist’s Cookbook’  how-to manual for  manufacturing explosives.

Federal prosecutors  have  cited an email in which the 18-year-old Fernandes described himself as the  commanding officer of 327th Nevada Militia, an urban survivalist unit with six  or seven members. Authorities said he told a confidential FBI informant that he  could kill more than the 12 slain in a theater  last July in Aurora, Colo., that  he would like to use children in a day  care center for target practice and that  he could attack the Las Vegas  Strip.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here