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Badge and Bar: Teen who made social media threat sentenced in state court
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Tiffani Torres, the Flowery Branch High School student charged with disruption of a public school after a January shooting threat on social media, pleaded no contest on July 24.

The 18-year-old was charged Jan. 29 in the social media incident that resulted in some 1,000 students checking out of school.

Disruption of a public school is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Torres was allowed to serve her 12-month sentence on probation. She was ordered to pay a $400 fine, serve 80 hours of community service and undergo a mental health evaluation.

Also as a condition of her probation, Torres was banned from using social media sites, and directed to terminate any existing accounts.

After an investigation by state and local authorities, Hall County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested Torres at her home, and she was booked into the Hall County Jail.

She was accused of using the social photo-sharing site Instagram to fabricate “knowledge of a shooting that was allegedly going to take place, knowing there was no fact to it,” sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Kiley Sargent said at the time.

The warrant for Torres’ arrest stated that her comments “concerning a plot to shoot students in school ... resulted in mass panic, chaos, fear and confusion for the students and staff.”

The sheriff’s office’s computer forensic investigator, along with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, was able to track down Torres through her Internet provider address, Sargent said.

Feds identify Gainesville man arrested in money laundering scheme

Federal authorities identified Ricardo Ruiz as the suspect arrested in April en route from Atlanta to Laredo, Texas, with more than $636,000 in the car, investigators said.

Ruiz was arrested near Mobile, Ala., and faces state conspiracy and money laundering charges.

The Mobile County Sheriff’s Department stopped the vehicle on Interstate 10, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations discovered the cash hidden in the vehicle, according to a news release from ICE.

A date in federal court has not yet been set for Ruiz, according to court documents, nor has he been indicted.

Sheriff’s office still seeking students for academy

The 14th session of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy is set to begin in fewer than three weeks, and the sheriff’s office is seeking to fill open spots.

The academy is free, and will meet twice a week for seven weeks to inform residents about the operations of their local sheriff’s office, from the jailhouse to the courthouse, and the patrol division to criminal investigations.

The sessions will be in the evenings from 6 to 9, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from Sept. 10-Oct. 15, and will feature both classroom sessions and hands-on activities to enhance civic knowledge.

Residents interested in participating can call Capt. Chris Matthews at 770-531-7095, or email him at, according to the sheriff’s office.

The office also directed applicants to an online form, which can be found at

Emma Witman covers public safety issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:


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