Newly unearthed government documents show that police in northern California expended resources chasing down a phantom "Antifa bus" after falling for a right-wing internet hoax.
The Guardian reports that officials in Shasta and Humboldt counties in northern California picked up on social media posts claiming that Antifa was busing hundreds of supporters into rural parts of the state with the intent to spark civil unrest in the area.
While there were no actual Antifa buses, that didn't stop local officials from asking the California Highway Patrol to do everything in their power to track them down.
The Highway Patrol proceeded to launch aircraft surveillance in the hopes of finding the nonexistent buses, but could not find any.
Nonetheless, Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal warned residents of the supposed Antifa buses roaming the country side.
"At a press conference on 4 June, Honsal publicly raised concerns about antifa threats, saying his agency had 'substantiated law enforcement reports' that 'Antifa did have people in buses' and suggesting the groups 'want to disrupt things and want to cause violence,'" writes The Guardian.
Honsal kept up the ruse one week later despite the fact that no Antifa buses had been located, as he again falsely claimed that the California Highway Patrol "confirmed the reports of an Antifa bus or buses."
Ryan Shapiro, the executive director of government transparency watchdog Property of the People, tells The Guardian that the wild Antifa bus chase simply shows that many officials in the counties lack "basic news and social media information literacy."