MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ A New Mexico man accused of paying hackers to sabotage websites affiliated with his former employers and state agencies has pleaded guilty to federal charges in Minnesota.

The plea from John Kelsey Gammell avoids a federal trial on hacking conspiracy charges. The FBI says the case represents a growing form of cybercrime in which professional hackers are paid to inflict damage on individuals, businesses and others who rely on digital devices connected to the web.

Gammell admitted in federal court in St. Paul Wednesday to engaging in a campaign of cyberattacks against at least three dozen websites between 2015 and 2017, including former employers, banks, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Judicial Branch.

A sentencing date has not been set.