Daniel Aikens set to appear in federal court on Friday

Daniel Aikens | Source: KALB
Daniel Aikens | Source: KALB(KALB)
Published: Jan. 16, 2020 at 10:29 AM CST
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The Alexandria man facing an extortion charge for allegedly threatening a loan business and detonating two pipe bombs in the city will appear in federal court on Friday for a preliminary examination and detention hearing.

Daniel Dewayne Aikens, 37, faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

A criminal complaint against Aikens was unsealed in federal court last Friday. He was arrested after a traffic stop on Jan. 6 and appeared in court the following day where he was arraigned.

According to the affidavit, Aikens contacted an employee of PayDay Today on MacArthur Drive 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.

In the affidavit, FBI Special Agent Randolph Deaton testified that on the day of the explosion outside of Payday Today, "investigators reviewed video surveillance footage at a gas station" near the business. And, "a white Jeep Cherokee is observed at the gas station on the morning of the Payday Today bombing."

Investigators also learned that the phone number used to dial in the threat to the business was assigned to a phone purchased on Dec. 19, 2019 at a Dollar General on Horseshoe Drive. According to the affidavit, "The clerk who waited on the cell phone purchaser described him as being a black male wearing ragged and ripped clothing and reeking of urine." A review of surveillance footage from a store in the area of the Dollar General depicted "an unidentified person wearing clothing similar to the cell phone purchaser drive a white Jeep Cherokee to the Dollar General parking lot and briefly get out."

After investigators put out a BOLO (Be On The Look Out) alert for a vehicle matching the description, on Jan. 6, deputies with the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office stopped a 2001 Jeep Cherokee as it departed a residence for a brake light that was out and an expired license plate. The driver, Daniel Aikens, matched the description of the person who purchased the cell phone and the vehicle was consistent with what investigators were looking for.

According to court documents, Aikens will be represented by a federal public defender, who has not been assigned yet according to PACER, the federal public records system. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamilla Bynog is listed as prosecutor.

Aikens will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Perez-Montes.

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