BANGOR, Maine — A native of Bulgaria living in Houlton has been charged in U.S. District Court, accused of threatening to kill a member of the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union.
Dushko Venelinov Vulchev, 38, made his first court appearance Monday in federal court in Portland on one count of threats in foreign commerce, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
“I will kill you like chickens,” Vulchev allegedly said in an email to a Bulgarian economist and administrator who is a member of the European Commission, which is located in Brussels, Belgium.
The investigation into the threatening emails began Feb. 5 after the victim and others received them. The FBI allegedly traced the emails to Vulchev, who, with permission, had used a neighbor’s wireless Internet connection.
Vulchev composed the emails in Bulgarian and wrote in all capital letters, according to the complaint. They were translated into English for the FBI by a member of the Specialized Directorate for Combating Organized Crime in Bulgaria. The Houlton man allegedly demanded jobs for Bulgarians in Europe.
“I want you together with [the victim] to have a full list of all Bulgarians, who live in Portugal and England,” one email said. “I want you together with [the victim] to hire in Europe as much Bulgarians as possible and withdraw them from these two countries.
“You will die if you don’t do it,” another said. “I give you two weeks, I will slit your throats, I will hang you like I did in Paris.”
The complaint did not explain the reference to Paris.
In a different email, Vulchev allegedly wrote: “Who doesn’t obey an order in time of war is punished by death by firing squad. Who receives email from me has received a kiss from the devil. If you don’t obey me … I will kill all you whores.”
What prompted Vulchev to allegedly send the emails was not included in the complaint. A neighbor interview by the FBI said Vulchev “seemed cranky since divorcing his American wife,” the complaint said.
Vulchev, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, was not asked to enter a plea Monday because he has not yet been indicted by the federal grand jury.
Vulchev was arrested Sunday after authorities learned he was considering flying to Bulgaria on Monday, according to information posted on the court’s electronic case filing system.
A hearing to determine if he will be released on bail is set for Thursday in federal court in Bangor.
If convicted, Vulchev faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.