A teenager from Fort Worth, Texas says he helped recruit for a Pakistani terror organization. Michael Kyle Sewell, 18, could face 20 years in jail after he pleaded guilty to using social media to recruit for Lashkar-e-Taiba. LeT, the organization behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 dead and many more wounded.
Sewell provided contact details for someone he believed could help facilitate travel to Pakistan for a potential LeT recruit.
A Department of Justice statement offers more details:
Sewell then 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. Unbeknownst to Sewell and the coconspirator, the facilitator was an undercover FBI agent.
Sewell and the coconspirator discussed what the coconspirator should say to the undercover agent who posed as the facilitator, in order to gain the facilitator’s trust and be permitted to join LeT. Sewell also contacted the facilitator to vouch for the coconspirator’s authenticity.
Sewell faces sentencing on August 12.
At any given time, there are ongoing investigations into Islamist terror plots in all 50 states. As of July 2018 there were in excess of 1,000 investigations into domestic and homegrown violent extremists, according to National Counterterrorism Center Strategic Operational Planning Director Lt.-Gen Michael K. Nagata.
“We stay on constant alert for radicals plotting attacks targeting citizens of the United States, here or abroad,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox, regarding the Sewell case. “Countering terrorist threats is our highest priority, and we will continue to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters abroad and bring justice to those who attempt to provide material support to foreign terror organizations. I would like to thank the FBI and our Joint Terrorism Task Force partners for all that they do to keep our communities safe.”