North Carolina resident has been charged with attempting to recruit people for terrorist attacks.
U.S. authorities arrested a North Carolina man on Thursday on charges of attempting to recruit people for terrorist attacks in America in support of the Islamic State group, the Justice Department said.
Among Erick Jamal Hendricks’ alleged contacts was a gunman in the thwarted 2015 attack on a Texas exhibition of caricatures of Islam’s Prophet, the first attack on U.S. soil that the Islamic State group claimed.
The Justice Department said Hendricks, 35, used social media in his attempts to recruit prospects, but instead was snagged by an undercover FBI employee. He allegedly told one prospective recruit that he wanted to create a sleeper cell for attacks in the United States, according to the complaint.
Potential targets included military members whose information had been released by I.S. and the woman who organized the “Draw [Islam’s] Prophet contest,” it alleged.
In April 2015, Hendricks allegedly used social media to contact Elton Simpson before Simpson, along with Nadir Hamid Soofi, launched the attack on the art exhibit in Garland, Texas, the department said. Simpson and Soofi opened fire, wounding a security guard. Garland police returned fire and killed both attackers.
If convicted, Hendricks faces up to 15 years in prison under statutory rules, but the sentencing could be altered by the court, the department said.