Radical Extremism

  Posted on: Monday, February 4, 2019
North Carolina man sentenced to 15 years in prison for trying to recruit people to launch attacks on behalf of ISIS
Justice.gov

Erick Jamal Hendricks, 38, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

A jury in Akron, Ohio, convicted Hendricks last year of attempting and conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

The sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman of the Northern District of Ohio and Special Agent in Charge Eric Smith of the FBI’s Cleveland Office.

“This defendant sought to create a cell of ISIS supporters, train those people and then launch attacks from inside the United States,” U.S. Attorney Herdman said. “This defendant posed a very real threat to the safety of our community and nation.”

“Erick Jamal Hendricks represents the significant online ISIS threat that we face daily – a US citizen that became radicalized online and attempted to recruit and train individuals to commit jihad, all while living in the United States,” said Special Agent in Charge Smith.  “The FBI urges the public to report information regarding individuals pledging their allegiance to ISIS or other identified terrorist groups. The FBI is pleased that Hendricks was stopped before he was successful and now will spend a significant amount of time behind bars.”

According to court documents and trial testimony, Hendricks tried to recruit people to train together and conduct terrorist attacks in the United States on behalf of ISIS.

Amir Al-Ghazi was arrested in the Northern District of Ohio in June 2015 after attempting to purchase an AK-47 assault rifle and ammunition from an undercover law enforcement officer.  Al-Ghazi had pledged allegiance to ISIS in social media and made statements expressing interest in conducting attacks in the U.S.

Hendricks had contacted Al-Ghazi over social media to recruit him in the spring of 2015. Hendricks allegedly told Al-Ghazi that he “needed people” and wanted to meet in person; that there were several “brothers” located in Texas and Mexico; that he was attempting to “get brothers to meet face to face;” and that he wanted “to get brothers to train together,” according to court documents and trial testimony

Al-Ghazi said Hendricks tested his religious knowledge and commitment, inquiring about his willingness to commit “jihad,” to die as a “martyr” and his desire to enter “jannah” (paradise).  Al-Ghazi understood these statements to mean that Hendricks was recruiting people to train together for the purpose of conducting a terrorist attack in the U.S. and to see if Al-Ghazi was suitable for recruitment, according to the allegations.  Al-Ghazi believed that Hendricks and the “brothers in Texas and Mexico” may have been responsible for a thwarted terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, on May 3, 2015, and therefore he decided to stay away from social media for a period following the attack to minimize detection by law enforcement.

Hendricks also communicated over social media with several other people, including an undercover FBI employee (UCE-1).  Hendricks on April 16, 2015 instructed UCE-1 to download the document “GPS for the Ghuraba in the U.S.”, which included a section entitled “Final Advice” which advocated that “brothers and sisters” should not allow themselves to go to jail.  This section also allegedly encouraged Muslims to die as a “Shaheed” (martyr), to “Boobie trap your homes,” to “lay in wait for them” and to “never leave your home without your AK-47 or M16.”  Hendricks also directed UCE-1 to communicate online with other people and stated “It’s hard to sift through brothers;” “Allah chooses only the few;” and “Everyday I do this day in and day out,” according to court documents and trial testimony.

Hendricks told another person that his goal was to create a sleeper cell to be trained and housed at a secure compound that would conduct attacks in the U.S.  He mentioned that potential targets included military members whose information had been released by ISIS and the woman who organized the “Draw Prophet Mohammad contest,” and he claimed to have 10 members signed up for his group, according court documents and trial testimony.

On April 23, 2015, Hendricks used social media to contact Elton Simpson, who, along with Nadir Hamid Soofi, was inspired by ISIS and launched the attack on the “First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest” in Garland.  Simpson and Soofi opened fire, wounding a security guard, before Garland police returned fire and killed both Simpson and Soofi.  Hendricks also connected UCE-1 with Simpson via social media, communicated with UCE-1 about the contest in Garland, and directed UCE-1 to go to the contest.  Hendricks said: “If you see that pig (meaning the organizer of the contest) make your ‘voice’ heard against her.”  He also asked UCE-1 a series of questions related to security at the event, including: “How big is the gathering?” “How many ppl?” “How many police/agents?” “Do you see feds there?’ “Do you see snipers?” and “How many media?”  Shortly thereafter, Simpson and Soofi committed the attack on the cartoon drawing contest.

Al-Ghazi is serving a 16-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization and being a felon in possession of firearms.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s offices in Cleveland; Columbia, South Carolina; Baltimore; and Charlotte, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the District of Maryland, District of South Carolina and the Western District of North Carolina.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew W. Shepherd and Mark S. Bennett and Trial Attorney Rebecca Magnone of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.


Read the Full Story
 
Radical Extremism:
3/1/20   Extremism Building to the ‘Doorstep of Another 9/11,’ DHS Official Tells Anti-Semitism Hearing
2/12/20   Pakistan jails cleric wanted by US, India for Mumbai attacks
2/11/20   Coast Guard officer accused of terror plot appeals sentence
2/10/20   Russia: Youth group members found guilty of plotting attacks
12/23/19   Germany charges woman as member of Islamic State group
12/19/19   Hamden Man Charged with Attempting to Travel to Fight for Isis
12/16/19   West Haven Man Arrested after Attempting to Travel to Middle East to Join and Fight for ISIS
12/11/19   Dallas Man Sentenced to 30 Years on Terrorism Charges
12/10/19   Albanian man repatriated from Syria charged of terror
12/10/19   New Jersey Man, Avowed Member of White Supremacist Group, Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements
12/3/19   Hizballah Operative Sentenced To 40 Years In Prison For Covert Terrorist Activities On Behalf Of Hizballah’s Islamic Jihad Organization
12/1/19   Focus on early release of terror convict in London stabbings
11/29/19   Several Stabbed on London Bridge, Police Shoot and Kill Suspect
11/13/19   UN chief: Terrorists strengthen foothold in Africa’s Sahel
11/5/19   White Supremacist Charged with Plotting to Blow Colorado Synagogue ‘Off the Map’
8/16/19   2 men sentenced for plotting to attack Muslim community
8/1/19   US officials say Islamic State still poses global threat
7/10/19   Texas man pleads guilty to terrorist activities with ISIS
7/9/19   White Supremacist Neo-Nazi Group Threatening Violent Action Is Recruiting on Gab, Twitter, Instagram
7/5/19   UK police arrested Swedish woman suspected of terrorism
Search Archives:



The St. Louis Fusion Center: Terrorism Early Warning Group is an information sharing initiative owned and operated by the  St. Louis Fusion Center. 
Should you have any questions please email info@sltew.org.

© 2020 St. Louis Fusion Center: Terrorism Early Warning Group. All rights reserved.