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Garcia Cited for Selling Jammer to Undercover Agent on craigslist.org.

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Released: October 5, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-1592

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, DC 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
James Christopher Garcia
)
File No.: EB-SED-12-00004450
)
Craigslist PostingID 3025710417
)
Washington, DC Craigslist
)

CITATION AND ORDER

ILLEGAL MARKETING AND OPERATION OF SIGNAL JAMMING DEVICE

Adopted: October 5, 2012

Released: October 5, 2012

By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
This is an official

CITATION AND ORDER

(Citation) issued pursuant to Section
503(b)(5) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Communications Act),1 to James Christopher
Garcia (Mr. Garcia or “you”) for marketing an illegal signal jamming device (jamming device or jammer)
by posting a classified advertisement for the device on Craigslist.org2 and selling such device to an
undercover Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) agent in violation of Section 302(b) of the Communications
Act3 and Sections 2.803 and 15.201(b) of the Federal Communications Commission (Commission or
FCC) rules (Rules).4 The Citation also finds that Mr. Garcia operated an illegal jamming device in
violation of Sections 301, 302, and 333 of the Communications Act.5
2.
Jamming devices, such as cell phone jammers and GPS blockers, pose serious risks to
critical public safety communications and can prevent individuals from making 9-1-1 and other
emergency calls. Jammers can also interfere with law enforcement communications. You should take
immediate steps to come into compliance and to avoid any recurrence of this misconduct. For example,
any operation of a signal jammer must cease immediately, and you are strongly encouraged to voluntarily
relinquish any jamming device(s) remaining in your possession. You also may not advertise jamming
devices for sale to any consumer in the United States through Craigslist or through any other means.


1 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(5).
2 See http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/mob/3025710417.html dated May 19, 2012 (last visited May 21, 2012).
Craigslist.org (Craigslist) is a website with classified ads and forums devoted to jobs, housing, personals, goods,
services, and local activities. See http://www.craigslist.org/about/factsheet (last visited Oct. 4, 2012).
3 47 U.S.C. § 302a(b).
4 47 C.F.R. §§ 2.803, 15.201(b).
5 47 U.S.C. §§ 301, 302, 333; see also 47 C.F.R. § 15.1(c).

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DA 12-1592

3.
We emphasize that the mere posting of a jamming device for sale on Craigslist or any
other online site or bulletin board targeting U.S. consumers contravenes federal law. Consistent with this
federal prohibition, Craigslist expressly bars the sale and advertisement of signal jamming devices on its
site.6 Therefore, you have not only violated federal law, but also contravened the contractual agreement
that governs your use of Craigslist. We will forward a copy of this Citation to Craigslist for any action it
may find appropriate under the Craigslist Terms of Use.
4.
As explained below and as provided in the Communications Act, future violations of the
Rules in this regard may subject you to substantial monetary penalties, seizure of equipment, and criminal
sanctions. Pursuant to Sections 4(i), 4(j), and 403 of the Communications Act,7 we also direct you to:
Ÿ
confirm within fifteen (15) calendar days after the release date of this Citation that you have
ceased marketing (e.g., advertising, selling) and operating any jamming device;
Ÿ
provide information concerning the source(s) from which you purchased or received the
jamming device you advertised and sold on Craigslist as well as any other jamming devices
you may have, or previously may have had, in your possession; and
Ÿ
provide information concerning any jammer sales that you may have made.

II.

BACKGROUND

5.
On May 21, 2012, the Spectrum Enforcement Division of the Bureau, through its market
surveillance efforts, observed an advertisement for a jamming device on Craigslist.8 The advertisement
was titled “Handheld Signal Jammer - $249 (Shirlington)” and read:
“New Handheld Signal Jammer for all Nationwide Networks. Can be used anyplace where
mobile cellular phones and GPS are prohibited. Please email me if you wish to purchase it.
Payment via money order or cash.”9
6.
On the same day, Bureau staff responded to the Craigslist posting via email and inquired
about the jamming device.10 Mr. Garcia replied to this email inquiry, confirmed that he was offering the
signal jammer for sale,11 and explained that the jammer effectively jams wireless communications within
a radius of 25-30 feet. On May 24, 2012, an undercover Bureau agent, with the support of local law
enforcement, made contact with Mr. Garcia at a predetermined location. Mr. Garcia presented the signal
jamming device to the undercover Bureau agent after assembling the antennas and powering on the
device. Mr. Garcia urged the agent to verify that it was in good condition and then accepted payment.
The undercover Bureau agent then revealed his identity and notified Mr. Garcia that it is illegal to
advertise, sell, or operate a signal jamming device in the United States. Mr. Garcia was further
questioned by the law enforcement officers and voluntarily surrendered the signal jamming device to the
undercover Bureau agent.


6 See http://www.craigslist.org/about/prohibited.items (last visited July 30, 2012).
7 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 154(j), 403.
8 See http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/mob/3025710417.html dated May 19, 2012 (last visited May 21, 2012).
A copy of the illegal advertisement is attached hereto as Appendix A.
9 Id.
10 Email to James Garcia (May 21, 2012, 18:02:00 EST) (on file in EB-SED-12-00004450).
11 Email from James Garcia (May 21, 2012, 18:03:00 EST) (on file in EB-SED-12-00004450) (Garcia Email Reply).
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DA 12-1592

III.

APPLICABLE LAW AND VIOLATIONS

A.

Marketing and operation of jammers prohibited by federal law

7.
Federal law prohibits the advertising, sale, and operation of jamming devices in the
United States and its territories. Section 301 of the Communications Act prohibits the use or operation of
“any apparatus for the transmission of energy or communications or signals by radio” within the United
States unless such use is licensed or authorized.12 Section 333 of the Communications Act states that
“[n]o person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio
communications of any station licensed or authorized by or under this Act or operated by the United
States Government.”13 In addition, Section 302(b) of the Communications Act provides that “[n]o person
shall manufacture, import, sell, offer for sale, or ship devices or home electronic equipment and systems,
or use devices, which fail to comply with regulations promulgated pursuant to this section.”14
8.
The applicable implementing regulations for Section 302(b) are set forth in Sections
2.803, 15.201, and 15.3(o) of the Rules.15 Section 2.803(a)(1) of the Rules provides that:
no person shall sell or lease, or offer for sale or lease (including advertising for sale or
lease), or import, ship, or distribute for the purpose of selling or leasing or offering for
sale or lease, any radio frequency device unless . . . [i]n the case of a device subject to
certification, such device has been authorized by the Commission in accordance with the
rules in this chapter and is properly identified and labeled as required by § 2.925 and
other relevant sections in this chapter.16
Additionally, Section 2.803(g) of the Rules provides in relevant part that:
[R]adio frequency devices that could not be authorized or legally operated under the
current rules . . . shall not be operated, advertised, displayed, offered for sale or lease,
sold or leased, or otherwise marketed absent a license issued under part 5 of this chapter
or a special temporary authorization issued by the Commission.17
9.
Pursuant to Section 15.201(b) of the Rules,18 intentional radiators19 like jamming devices
cannot be marketed in the United States or its territories unless they have first been authorized in
accordance with the Commission’s certification procedures. Section 2.803(e)(4) of the Rules defines
“marketing” as the “sale or lease, or offering for sale or lease, including advertising for sale or lease, or
importation, shipment or distribution for the purpose of selling or leasing or offering for sale or lease.”20


12 47 U.S.C. § 301.
13 Id. § 333.
14 Id. § 302a(b).
15 47 C.F.R. §§ 2.803, 15.201, 15.3(o).
16 Id. § 2.803(a)(1) (emphasis added).
17 Id. § 2.803(g) (emphasis added).
18 Id. § 15.201(b).
19 An “intentional radiator” is a “device that intentionally generates and emits radio frequency energy by radiation or
induction.” Id. § 15.3(o).
20 Id. § 2.803(e)(4).
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DA 12-1592

10.
Jamming devices, however, cannot be certified or authorized because their primary
purpose is to block or interfere with authorized radio communications. Thus, jamming devices such as
the one offered on Craigslist by Mr. Garcia cannot comply with the FCC’s technical standards and
therefore cannot be marketed lawfully in the United States or its territories.21

B.

Illegal signal jammer advertisement and sale on Craigslist

11.
The evidence indicates that Mr. Garcia was illegally marketing a jamming device to
consumers in the United States. As noted above, beginning on May 21, 2012, Mr. Garcia advertised a
jamming device on Craigslist.22 Craigslist is a classified advertisements website, generally involving an
online listing for a product or service followed by an email or telephone exchange and an in-person
meeting between the buyer and seller.23 Craigslist users are prohibited from posting advertisements to
multiple geographic areas.24 Consistent with this policy, Mr. Garcia posted his jammer advertisement on
one of more than 300 local sites on Craigslist—the Washington, DC site, available at
http://washingtondc.craigslist.org. This illegal online offer for sale was repeated in email correspondence
with Bureau staff, where Mr. Garcia confirmed that he was still marketing the jammer.25 Mr. Garcia also
completed a sale of the illegal jammer to an undercover agent, negotiating terms of sale and subsequently
requesting and accepting payment for the device.
12.
We note that both the Craigslist Terms of Use and the Craigslist Prohibited Items List
prohibit the sale and advertisement of cell phone jammers, GPS blockers, and other signal jamming
devices. The Craigslist Terms of Use states: “Content prohibited from Craigslist includes but is not
limited to: . . . content in facilitation of the creation, advertising, distribution, provision or receipt of
illegal goods or services.”26 The Craigslist Prohibited Items List then applies this policy directly to signal
jamming devices, noting that “[i]llegal telecommunications equipment, including . . . signal jamming
devices
,” is “not permitted on craigslist.”27


21 In very limited circumstances and consistent with applicable procurement requirements, individuals and/or entities
may market jamming devices to the U.S. federal government for authorized, official use. See 47 U.S.C. § 302a(c);
47 C.F.R. § 2.807(d).
22 See Garcia Email Reply (on file in EB-SED-12-00004450).
23 See Craigslist Terms of Use, Section 4a, Postings, http://www.craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use (last visited July
31, 2012) (noting that “craigslist is intended and designed as a local service.”). Craigslist permits an individual to
post free classified advertisements for goods and services, and through its anonymize email feature, facilitates
communications between the seller and the potential buyer. See http://www.craigslist.org/about/anonymize (last
visited August 9, 2012) (stating that if a seller selects the anonymize feature, the posting will display a Craigslist
email address and that Craigslist will relay any messages sent to that address to the seller’s email address).
24 See Craigslist Terms of Use, Section 4a, Postings, http://www.craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use (last visited July
31, 2012) (noting also that “a user may post content only to the single specific geographic area offered on craigslist
(see http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites) for which that content is most relevant” and that “[t]he same or
substantially similar content (for example, an ad for a particular item or service, a particular offer, a particular
message or a particular comment) may not be posted to or communicated via more than one such geographic area.
Content that is equally relevant to multiple (i.e., more than one) geographic areas should not be posted on
craigslist.”).
25 See Garcia Email Reply (on file in EB-SED-12-00004450).
26 See Craigslist Terms of Use, Section 3a, Content, available at http://www.craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use (last
visited September 13, 2012).
27 See http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/about/prohibited.items (emphasis added) (last visited Septemeber 13, 2012),
attached hereto as Appendix B.
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13.
Accordingly, we find that Mr. Garcia has repeatedly violated Section 302(b) of the
Communications Act and Sections 2.803 and 15.201(b) of the Rules by marketing in the United States a
radio frequency device that is not eligible for certification. We therefore issue this Citation to Mr. Garcia
for violating the Communications Act and the Rules as discussed above. Jamming devices pose
significant risks to public safety and potentially compromise other radio communications services. Mr.
Garcia should take immediate steps to ensure that he does not continue to market jamming devices in the
United States or its territories, including on Craigslist.

C.

Unlicensed Operation of Jamming Device

14.
Mr. Garcia also operated the jamming device at issue in the Craigslist posting in the
presence of the undercover field agent. As detailed above, the operation of a jammer by an individual
consumer, even on private property, is per se unlawful. This means that it is illegal to use a jammer on
mass transit (e.g., train, bus) or in a residence, vehicle, school, theater, restaurant or in any other public or
private place. We therefore find that Mr. Garcia has illegally operated a jamming device in violation of
Sections 301, 302(b), and 333 of the Communications Act.
15.
We are increasingly concerned that individual consumers who operate jamming devices
do not appear to understand the potentially grave consequences of using a jammer. Instead, these
operators incorrectly assume that their illegal operation is justified by personal convenience or should
otherwise be excused. While we previously have issued warnings to such operators in the first instance—
primarily because non-monetary penalties historically have proven effective in deterring unlawful
operation by individuals—we are not required to do so. We are mindful of the serious risks posed by
jamming devices and the apparent need to provide greater incentives for individual operators to cease the
operation, importation, and sale of jamming devices altogether. Therefore, we caution you and other
potential violators that going forward, and as circumstances warrant, we intend to impose substantial
monetary penalties, rather than (or in addition to) warnings, on individuals who operate a jammer.28
Furthermore, the issuance of the instant Citation does not preclude the Commission from taking
additional enforcement action in this case.
16.
We again emphasize that if any jamming device remains within your possession or
control, you are strongly urged to contact the Bureau to arrange to voluntarily relinquish the jammer.
Except for the very limited context of authorized, official use by the federal government, jamming
devices have no legal use in the United States. The Bureau’s contact information is provided in paragraph
20 below.

IV.

FUTURE COMPLIANCE

17.
If after receipt of this Citation, Mr. Garcia violates the Communications Act or the Rules
by marketing or operating an unauthorized radio frequency device within the United States or its
territories, or otherwise engaging in conduct of the type described herein, the Commission may impose
monetary forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each such violation or, in the case of a continuing violation, the
Commission may impose monetary forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each day of such continuing violation
up to a maximum forfeiture of $112,500 for any single act or failure to act.29 For instance, the


28 The illegal use of a signal jamming device within the United States may be reported to the FCC at
http://www.fcc.gov.complaints. For Frequently Asked Questions and other information regarding the illegal
marketing or use of cell phone jammers, GPS blockers, and other signal jamming devices, please consult the FCC’s
jammer enforcement webpage at http://www.fcc.gov/jammers.
29 See 47 U.S.C. § 503; 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(3). These amounts are subject to further adjustment for inflation and the
forfeiture amount applicable to any violation will be determined based on the statutory amount designated at the
time of the violation. See 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(5).
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DA 12-1592

Commission could impose separate forfeitures for each signal jammer sold and/or for each day on which
a signal jammer is advertised or otherwise offered for sale. Violations of the Communications Act or the
Rules can result in seizure of equipment through in rem forfeiture actions,30 as well as criminal sanctions,
including imprisonment.31
18.
In addition to providing the required information described in paragraph 22 below, you
may respond to this Citation either through (1) a personal interview at the closest FCC office, which must
take place within thirty (30) calendar days of the release date of this Citation, or (2) submission of a
written statement, within fifteen (15) calendar days after the release date of this Citation. Any written
statement should specify the actions you have taken to ensure that you do not violate the Communications
Act or the Rules governing the marketing or operation of jamming devices in the future. Please reference
file number EB-SED-12-00004450 when corresponding with the Commission.
19.
Under the Privacy Act of 1974, any statement or information you provide may be used by
the Commission to determine if further enforcement action is required.32 Section 1.17 of the Rules also
requires that you provide truthful and accurate statements to the Commission.33 Any knowingly or
willfully false statement, or concealment of any material fact, made in reply to this Citation is punishable
by fine or imprisonment.34

V.

CONTACT INFORMATION

20.
The closest FCC office is the Washington, DC office. You may contact the Spectrum
Enforcement Division by telephone, 202-418-1160, to schedule an interview, which must take place
within thirty (30) calendar days after the release date of this Citation. You should send any written
statement within fifteen (15) calendar days after the release date of this Citation to:
John D. Poutasse
Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division
Enforcement Bureau
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW, Rm. 3-C366
Washington, DC 20554

Re: EB File No.: EB-SED-12-00004450

21.
Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request.
Include a description of the accommodation needed, including as much detail as possible. Also include a
way we can contact you if we need more information. Please allow at least five (5) calendar days
advance notice; last minute requests will be accepted, but may be impossible to fill. Requests may be


30 See 47 U.S.C. § 510.
31 See id. §§ 401, 501.
32 See Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a(e)(3).
33 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.17 (“[N]o person subject to this rule shall[:] (1) In any written or oral statement of fact,
intentionally provide material factual information that is incorrect or intentionally omit material information that is
necessary to prevent any material factual statement that is made from being incorrect or misleading; and (2) In any
written statement of fact, provide material factual information that is incorrect or omit material information that is
necessary to prevent any material factual statement that is made from being incorrect or misleading without a
reasonable basis for believing that any such material factual statement is correct and not misleading.”).
34 See 18 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.
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DA 12-1592

submitted by email to fcc504@fcc.gov or by phone to the Commission’s Consumer & Governmental
Affairs Bureau:

For sign language interpreters, CART, and other reasonable accommodations:
202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty);

For accessible format materials (braille, large print, electronic files, and audio format):
202-418-0531 (voice), 202-418-7365 (tty).

VI.

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
22.
Pursuant to Sections 4(i), 4(j), and 403 of the Communications Act,35 you are directed to
provide the information requested in non-public Appendix C hereto within fifteen (15) calendar days after
the release date of this Citation. The Request for Information concerns your jamming device supplier(s)
and sale(s) as well as the disposition of any jamming devices in your possession. Failure to respond to
the Request for Information, or an inadequate, incomplete, or misleading response, may subject you to
additional sanctions.36

VII.

ORDERING CLAUSES

23.

IT IS ORDERED

that pursuant to Sections 4(i), 4(j), and 403 of the Communications
Act, James Christopher Garcia must provide the information requested in paragraphs 4 and 22, as well as
the non-public Appendix C to this Citation and Order. The response to the Request for Information must
be provided in the manner indicated herein and must be received by the FCC within fifteen (15) calendar
days after the release date of this Citation and Order.
24.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that a copy of this Citation and Order shall be sent by
email and by First Class U.S. Mail and Certified Mail, return receipt requested, to James Christopher
Garcia at his addresses of record.

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

P. Michele Ellison
Chief
Enforcement Bureau


35 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 154(j), 403.
36 See, e.g., SBC Communications, Inc., Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, Forfeiture Order, 17 FCC Rcd 7589
(2002) ($100,000 forfeiture for refusing to attest to truthfulness and accuracy of responses to a Bureau letter of
inquiry); Connect Paging, Inc. d/b/a Get A Phone, Forfeiture Order, 22 FCC Rcd 15146 (Enf. Bur. 2007) ($4,000
forfeiture for failure to respond to a Bureau letter of inquiry); BigZoo.Com Corporation, Order of Forfeiture, 20
FCC Rcd 3954 (Enf. Bur. 2005) ($20,000 forfeiture for failure to respond to an LOI); Donald W. Kaminski, Jr.,
Forfeiture Order, 18 FCC Rcd 26065 (Enf. Bur. 2003) ($4,000 forfeiture for failure to respond to a Bureau letter of
inquiry).
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DA 12-1592

APPENDIX A

Illegal Jammer Advertisement on Craigslist


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DA 12-1592

APPENDIX B

Craigslist Prohibited Items List


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