A hacker affiliated with Anonymous and its offshoot AntiSec is facing 44 charges related to cyber-stalking and hacking. With each charge carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail, 27-year-old Fidel Salinas could be facing a total sentence of 440 years.
Salinas, from Texas, was arrested by the FBI in September and indicted on one charge of attempting to gain unauthorised access to the Hidalgo County web server, causing damage and loss of more than $5,000 (£3,000). He pleaded not guilty.
He was subsequently charged with 14 additional charges at the beginning of this month. The new charges allege that between November 2011 and January 2012, Salinas repeatedly tried to gain unauthorised access to, cause damage to, and obtain information from web servers hosting websites for Hidalgo County, La Joya Independent School District, and The Monitor newspaper.
The Anonymous hacker has been further charged with crimes associated with online stalking of an unnamed female victim. He was accused of stalking her online at least 18 times in December 2011.
The FBI said: "Salinas faces up to 10 years in federal prison on each of the charges upon conviction."
Corrupt officials and politicians
The FBI statement also references a Facebook comment made by Salinas following his arrest last year where he seemingly admits breaking into the Hidalgo County web server. However he claims that this was simply to point out the lack of security used by the local authority.
In his angry diatribe, Salinas said:
"F**k you corrupt officials and politicians. When someone tries to give you advice that your servers aren't secure and said person doesn't modify, access or download and 'redistricted' information. I believe you say thank you instead of being afraid of what you don't know by getting an invalid warrant, arresting and wrongfully hijacking all his electronics. We do not forgive, we do not forget."
The FBI also pointed out that the sign-off to the post is an oft-used quote by the global online hacktivist group Anonymous.
The charges laid against Salinas earlier this month claim the 27-year-old entered an AntiSec chatroom used by Anonymous on 6 June, 2011, though it's unclear if the authorities believe these crimes were related to the wider Anonymous movement.
The date mentioned by the FBI for when Salinas entered the AntiSec chatroom is significant as it is hours before the FBI knocked on the door of Hector Monsegur having identified him as the ringleader of the LulzSec hacking group known online as Sabu.
It is unlikely that this is a coincidence and could point to the FBI's on-going monitoring of the chatrooms being used by Anonymous at this time.
The US authorities have also revealed some of the details of the alleged cyber-stalking, claiming that over the festive period in 2011, Salinas intended to "harass and intimidate" his victim by repeatedly emailing her, attempting to gain unauthorised access to her website, making submissions through a contact form on that site and trying to open user accounts without her consent.
These actions are said to have taken place late at night or early in the morning and the cyber-stalking was carried out at least in part in conspiracy with one other person, the FBI claims.
Salinas is due back in court on 8 May, the same day Sabu is scheduled to be sentenced in New York.