McALLEN — After an investigation stretching more than a year, federal agents arrested a man accused of trying to hack the Hidalgo County website as a member of the activist group Anonymous.
Fidel Salinas Jr. remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing after his arrest last week by the FBI on the charge of accessing a protected computer without authorization, court records show.
Cyber crimes agents at the FBI were called to assist a local investigation after the hacking of the Hidalgo County website Jan. 5, 2012, when more than 14,000 attempts to log on to its server were made, keeping network administrators from accessing it for about half a day, according to a probable cause affidavit.
From those 14,000 attempts, FBI agents were able to get the internet protocol — or IP — address of the computer used in the attack, and they tracked it to a house off Nolana Loop in Donna, according to the affidavit. The property owner said that her daughter’s boyfriend had moved into the house, and FBI agents seized various computers and other electronic equipment.
On Sept. 19, 2012, FBI agents interviewed Salinas about the hacking of the website and he said he wasn’t trying to do anything illegal but rather checking to see whether he could gain access in order to then alert network administrators as a courtesy, according to the affidavit.
On May 14, 2013, Salinas was interviewed a second time by the FBI, and he told agents that he would often talk with other members of the international hacker-activist group Anonymous via Web chat. He also told agents that if he found any derogatory information about Sheriff Lupe Treviño, he would either give the information to authorities or publish it himself.
In that same interview, Salinas claimed to have posted a Facebook comment aimed at Treviño that ended, in part, with the quote: “We do not forgive, we do not forget” — a tagline commonly used by Anonymous members.