A New York man, who had planned to join Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and carry out acts of terrorism, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison and a lifetime term of supervised release for attempting to provide material support to the terror outfit.
Jesus Wilfredo Encarnacion, 30, who also went by the alias'Jihadistsoldgier', 'Jihadinhear', 'Jihadinheart', 'Lionofthegood', was sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to LeT, which is responsible for multiple high-profile attacks, including the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008, the Department of Justice said.
In addition, Encarnacion was sentenced to a lifetime term of supervised release. Encarnacion had pleaded guilty in January this year before United States District Judge Ronnie Abrams, who also imposed the sentence.
"Unfortunately, individuals continue to attempt to travel to foreign countries to support terrorist organisations. Encarnacion's sentence reflects the seriousness with which the justice system takes these efforts," Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C Demers said.
Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York said Encarnacion plotted to travel abroad, to join and train with LeT and to carry out shootings, bombings, and beheadings on behalf of that terrorist organisation.
According to the criminal complaint and indictment, Encarnacion expressed his desire to join a terrorist group in an online group chat in November 2018.
At the chat, he met another individual, who introduced Encarnacion to a person who was an undercover FBI employee. Encarnacion repeatedly expressed, in the course of recorded communications through a social media service with the individual and through an encrypted messaging service with the undercover agent, his allegiance to and support for LeT.
The Pakistan-based terror organisation LeT has been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation by both the United States Secretary of State and the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Over several months, Encarnacion discussed his desire and plans to join LeT overseas so that he could receive training and participate in violent acts of terrorism.
The Justice Department said Encarnacion told the undercover agent that he was "ready to kill and die in the name of Allah" and sought the agent's assistance to help Encarnacion travel abroad to serve as an "executioner" for LeT, stating, "I want to execute. I want to behead. Shoot."
Encarnacion further stated that he aspired to commit terrorist attacks - "a bombing and shooting" - in the United States, but lacked "guidance and guns" to do so.
By early 2019, Encarnacion and the undercover agent agreed on a plan that Encarnacion believed would allow him to join LeT in Pakistan.
Encarnacion told the agent that he had made arrangements to travel to a particular city in Europe, as the first step in traveling to Pakistan to join LeT.
Encarnacion purchased an airline ticket for a flight scheduled to depart in February last year from John F Kennedy International Airport to a European City. Encarnacion was arrested by the FBI after he attempted to board the flight from JFK Airport.