Washington: In a dangerous sign that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) has expanded its tentacles in the United States, federal prosecutors announced Friday that they have arrested a New York-based man who was about to catch a flight to Pakistan to join the terror group.
Jesus Wilfredo Encarnacion (29), was arrested Thursday night at John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK Airport) as he was about to board an international flight with Pakistan being his final destination.
“Encarnacion allegedly attempted to travel to Pakistan to join a foreign terrorist organisation and conspired with another individual to provide that organisation with material support,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers.
Encarnacion, aka ‘Jihadistsoldgier’, ‘Jihadinhear’, ‘Jihadinheart’ and ‘Lionofthegood’, plotted to travel to Pakistan to join and train with LeT, which is infamous around the world for perpetrating the lethal 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and other atrocities, said US Attorney Geoffrey Berman.
A Manhattan resident, Encarnacion not only expressed a desire to ‘execute and behead people’, he scheduled travel and almost boarded a plane so he could go learn how to become a terrorist, added FBI assistant director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr.
In another development in Texas, Michael Kyle Sewell, 18, was charged by the FBI with using social media to recruit people on behalf of LeT and send them to Pakistan for terrorist training.
The arrest of the New Yorker and the charges against the Texas teenager – who do not appear to be of South Asian origin as has been the case in previous such arrests – has set the alarm bells ringing among the law enforcement agencies in the US.
According to NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill, one of Encarnacion’s stated motives for travelling overseas was to get the training and experience he believed he needed to someday return to the United States and carry out attacks.