Idaho teen arrested for alleged plans to assault church buildings in identify of Isis

Idaho teen arrested for alleged plans to assault church buildings in identify of Isis

An Idaho teenager who was allegedly planning an assault on church buildings within the identify of Isis has been arrested.

Final Saturday, federal authorities arrested 18-year-old Alexander Scott Mercurio of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a day earlier than his alleged deliberate assault on church buildings within the metropolis utilizing weapons together with knives, firearms and fireplace.

The federal investigation into Mercurio started when he allegedly reached out to confidential human sources on-line and indicated his assist for Isis, in line with a prison criticism. Unbeknownst to him, Mercurio detailed his assist to an FBI informant. Along with spreading Isis propaganda on-line, Mercurio allegedly solicited the fear group’s involvement in and approval of his propaganda efforts, in addition to mentioned touring from the US to affix Isis.

In what federal authorities imagine to be an internet message from Mercurio to a gaggle chat on an “encrypted social media and cellular messaging digital communication service”, {the teenager} allegedly wrote in October 2022: “I’m 17 in USA…I do know I attempt to hold secret, I’m in north Idaho very Christian and conservative mother and father are mad trigger I’m not shaving beard and never letting pants go under ankle.”

Mercurio additionally allegedly wrote: “Okay brother it was calm for a pair days, now its critical. They’re sending me to in individual college once more extra remedy extra stuff like that and many others and many others in all probability not coming again anytime quickly. Clearly make dua, inform brothers, and many others. Im in for the lengthy haul. I gotta hold my Iman agency, it doesn’t matter what. They could even ship me to a ‘youth program’ (ship me off a whole bunch of miles to drive me to ‘behave’) etv and many others. Kinda scared however In Sha Allah every little thing will likely be okay, goodbye brother.”

Along with his alleged on-line messages, federal authorities additionally discovered “quite a few information confirming Mercurio’s dedication to Isis and its ideology” on his school-issued laptop computer. These information allegedly embody an image of him sporting a black balaclava and holding up the primary finger, a gesture generally utilized by Isis supporters, in addition to paperwork surrounding Norwegian neo-Nazi terrorist Anders Breivik, US college massacres, the suicide epidemic in Japan and Korea, in addition to austerity suicides in Europe.

Mercurio additionally allegedly thought-about and deliberate methods to assist Isis financially. He’s accused of planning to assault his father with a metallic pipe, purchase his father’s firearms and assault as much as roughly 21 church buildings.

The prison criticism reveals that initially of this yr, Mercurio allegedly deliberate to hold out his suicide assault on a church in Coeur d’Alene on 7 April, a date “deliberately chosen by him so his assault would happen earlier than the tip of Ramadan”.

The criticism additionally says his plan concerned utilizing flame-covered weapons, explosives, knives, a machete, a pipe and firearms. Because the date of his deliberate assault drew close to, Mercurio additionally allegedly devised a plan to incapacitate his father, restrain him with handcuffs and steal his firearms “to make use of for optimum casualties in his assault”.

In planning the assault, Mercurio additionally allegedly made a ba’yah, or an Islamic pledge of allegiance, to Isis and acknowledged his intention to die whereas killing others within the identify of the fear group.

In a assertion launched following Mercurio’s arrest, lawyer basic Merrick Garland stated: “Because of the investigative efforts of the FBI, the defendant was taken into custody earlier than he may act, and he’s now charged with making an attempt to assist ISIS’s mission of terror and violence. The justice division will proceed to relentlessly pursue, disrupt, and maintain accountable those that would commit acts of terrorism in opposition to the folks and pursuits of america.”

Echoing comparable sentiments, Shohini Sinha, particular agent in control of the Salt Lake Metropolis FBI, stated: “This case must be an eye-opener to the risks of self-radicalization, which is an actual risk to our communities. Defending the American folks from terrorism stays the FBI’s primary precedence, and we proceed to encourage the general public to report something suspicious to the FBI or your native legislation enforcement.”

Mercurio is charged with making an attempt to supply materials assist or sources to a chosen overseas terrorist group. If convicted, Mercurio faces a most penalty of 20 years in federal jail.

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