Texas Teen Sentenced to 20 Years for Trying to Recruit for Pakistani Terrorist Group Lashkar-e-Taiba
At 18, most kids should be looking at colleges, trade schools, or starting a career. What they shouldn't be doing is trying to recruit for Pakistani terrorist organizations.
I guess no one told 18-year-old Michael Kyle Sewell of Fort Worth. He was arrested back in February and confessed to conspiring to provide material support for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) - a cadre of very bad dudes who believe in waging jihad, particularly against India.
On Monday, Sewell was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. Investigators say he had an AR-15 style rifle and other weapons, and had researched ways to carry out attacks while making threats online. He also tried to recruit someone, and told his contact at LeT that he'd kill his co-conspirator if it turned out he was a spy.
Fortunately for us, Sewell's contact turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. When Sewell began making arrangements to fly to Pakistan and join LeT, authorities swooped in.
“Sewell conspired with another individual to provide material support to LeT and assisted his co-conspirator with his plans to travel overseas to join the terrorist organization," said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of National Security. "Today’s sentence provides just punishment for his crime. The National Security Division is committed to identifying and holding accountable those who conspire to provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations.”
U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox said Sewell's case demonstrates how an American citizen can be radicalized and highlights the measures federal authorities are taking to crack down on would-be terrorists at home.
“Eighteen years after 9/11, combatting terrorism remains the FBI’s top priority," FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno said in response to the sentence. "Here, the defendant, a natural born American citizen, helped recruit a fellow American to fight for a group responsible for unspeakable violence across South Asia. The FBI Dallas Field Office, and its partners who make up the North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force, will work tirelessly to bring to justice those who offer their support to terrorist organizations, both at home and abroad.”
What's the lesson here, kids? Focus on a building a future for yourself and your loved ones, not making people miserable and murdering others to further a radical agenda. It should go without saying.