A U.S. District Judge sentenced a North Carolina man to 15 years in prison for trying to create a terrorist cell to carry out attacks for ISIS in the U.S.
Erick Jamal Hendricks, 38, of Charlotte, was convicted last March of conspiring to provide material support to ISIS by trying to recruit and train fellow ISIS sympathizers through social media.
Attorneys for the government asked the judge for a 30-year sentence, the maximum for the crimes. Although the judge declined, he did order Hendricks to be subject to probation for his entire life. Hendricks will not be allowed to possess any terrorist literature.
At the time of his arrest, Hendricks was a youth coordinator for a mosque that belongs to the Islamic Circle of North America.
A copy of ICNA’s teaching guide reviewed by Clarion Project said Muslims are required to pursue the rebuilding of a caliphate and establishment of theocratic sharia governance. The guide is heavy with anti-Western content, justification of jihad against forces who “oppose the Islamic Call” and recommends using deception.
Based on Hendricks’ online trial as well as his meetings with an undercover agent whom Hendricks believed he was recruiting, prosecutors said at his trial that Hendricks’ goal was to create a sleeper cell to be trained and housed at a secure compound that would conduct attacks in the U.S.
Hendricks mentioned potential targets, including military personnel whose information was released by ISIS; and Pamela Geller at her “Draw Prophet Mohammad contest” in Garland, Texas, on May 3, 2015.
Court documents showed Hendricks was in touch through social media with the Islamist terrorists who attacked that event.
“Hendricks used social media to recruit others to plan and carry out attacks on our homeland in the name of ISIS, with the goal of creating a sleeper cell on our soil,” Assistant Attorney General Demers said in a Justice Department press release.
Hendricks claimed to have 10 members signed up for his group, according court documents and trial testimony.
“Hendricks represents the significant online ISIS threat that we face daily – a U.S. citizen that becomes radicalized online and attempts to recruit and train individuals to commit jihad, all while on American soil,” said Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony. “The FBI urges the public to report information regarding individuals pledging their allegiance to ISIS or other identified terrorist groups.”