A Massachusetts man has pleaded guilty in connection with a plot to engage in terrorist activity inspired by and in the name of ISIS.
Alexander Ciccolo, aka Ali Al Amriki, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS, one count of attempting to use weapons of mass destruction, one count of being a convicted person in possession of firearms, and one count of assaulting a nurse during a jail intake process by use of a deadly weapon causing bodily injury.
In 2015, Ciccolo received four firearms from a law enforcement informant who had been communicating with him about his plans to engage in a terrorist act. Ciccolo, who was prohibited from possessing firearms, was arrested immediately after receiving the weapons, which included a Colt AR-15 .223 caliber rifle, a SigArms Model SG550-1 556 rifle, a Glock 17-9 mm pistol, and a Glock 20-10 mm pistol.
In recorded conversations with a cooperating witness, he had spoken about his plans to commit acts of terrorism inspired by ISIS, including setting off improvised explosive devices, such as pressure cookers filled with black powder, nails, ball bearings and glass, in places where large numbers of people congregate, like college cafeterias. Prior to his arrest, agents had observed Ciccolo purchase a pressure cooker similar to that used in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Agents had also found several partially constructed Molotov cocktails in his apartment. Shortly after his arrest, while he was being processed at the Franklin County Correctional Center in Massachusetts, Ciccolo stabbed a nurse with a pen more than 10 times, leaving a bloody gash on the top of the nurse’s head.
“Even though he was born and raised in Massachusetts, Alexander Ciccolo swore allegiance to ISIS and planned to kill innocent civilians in the United States on ISIS’s behalf. Fortunately, someone who knew Ciccolo alerted law enforcement, and the Western Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force was able to stop Ciccolo before he tried to kill anyone,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling. “There are a few lessons here: the threat of ‘homegrown’ radicalization and terror continues, and we are safest when we work together to spot and contain these threats. I applaud the outstanding work of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and other law enforcement agencies that investigated and ultimately stopped Ciccolo, and the prosecutors who brought this case to conviction.”
Ciccolo and the United States have agreed to a sentence of 20 years in prison to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release.