Texas Man Sentenced to 20 Years for helping Pakistan-based terrorist organization

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A North Texas man was sentenced Sept. 16, 2019, to 240 months in federal prison for conspiring to provide material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani-based foreign terrorist organization. Also known as LeT, this terrorist organization has posed a significant threat to India and is considered by New Delhi as responsible for the Mumbai terror attack of 2006 which killed more than 160 people including 6 Americans.

Supporters shower Hafiz Saeed leader of Lashkar e Taiba, with flower petals as he walks to court in Lahore, Pakistan, in November 2017. The court released him from house arrest. Mohsin Raza/Reuters

The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas and Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of National Security.

“This case demonstrates how an American citizen can be radicalized by a violent ideology based upon hate and how the actions of the FBI and our partners on the Joint Terrorism Task Force worked tirelessly to prevent violence here, and abroad.,” Cox is quoted saying in a Justice Department press release.

“Sewell conspired with another individual to provide material support to LeT and assisted his coconspirator with his plans to travel overseas to join the terrorist organization,” noted Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of National Security.

“Eighteen years after 9/11, combatting terrorism remains the FBI’s top priority.  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,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno.

Michael Kyle Sewell, 18, was arrested in February and pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge in May. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor Sept. 16.

During sentencing, the United States introduced evidence that Sewell’s offense was consistent with a long pattern of online statements supporting violent extremism, the press release said, adding that during a search of Sewell’s home after his arrest, agents found an AR-15 style rifle, multiple magazines, and a number of knives in Sewell’s bedroom.

According to court documents, Sewell admitted to encouraging an individual identified in court documents as cc1 to join LeT. Sewell provided the coconspirator, who he spoke to on social media, with contact information for an individual he believed could facilitate the coconspirator’s travel to Pakistan to join LeT.  The facilitator was an undercover FBI agent.

 

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