Alexandria man facing extortion charge related to explosion off MacArthur drive

ALEXANDRIA, La. –  A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Alexandria charging Daniel Dewayne Aikens, 37, of Alexandria, for an extortion scheme involving threats and the detonation of two pipe bombs, announced David C. Joseph, United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.

Aikens was arrested after a traffic stop on January 6, 2020, and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph H.L. Perez-Montes on January 7, 2020, where he was advised of the charge contained in the complaint, arraigned on the charge, and detained. Aikens continues to remain in federal custody pending the outcome of his detention hearing on January 17, 2020.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Aikens contacted an employee of PayDay Today demanding $10,000 in cash. He initially spoke to the employee about a set of lost keys. While the employee was in the parking lot looking for the keys, a device exploded in a trash can near the building. The affidavit states Aikens told the employee that he caused the explosion and demanded $10,000 in cash. Aikens was discharged from his position as a commissioned officer in the Louisiana National Guard shortly after his arrest in connection with this incident.

“The defendant is charged with trying to extort money from his victims by using an explosive device,” stated United States Attorney Joseph. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners take the unlawful use of explosive devices very seriously due to the terrible damage they can inflict. I want to thank the FBI, ATF, and U.S. Marshal’s Service, as well as our state and local partners, for their immediate response to the scene as well as their seamless coordination to secure the safety of the citizens of Alexandria.”

If convicted on the extortion charge, Aikens faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), FBI, Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office, Alexandria Police Department, U.S. Marshal’s Service, Louisiana State Police, and the Alexandria Fire Department investigated the case, with the assistance of the Alexandria Public Safety Commissioner and the City of Alexandria Mayor’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamilla A. Bynog is prosecuting the case.

 

This matter will proceed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, where the Criminal Complaint is currently pending. A Criminal Complaint is a temporary charge alleging a violation of law. For the case to proceed to trial, the United States must present the charge to a federal Grand Jury within 30 days. Once a Grand Jury returns an Indictment, a defendant has a right to a jury trial at which the United States would have the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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