BOSTON, Mass. — The son of a Boston police officer has pleaded guilty to plotting terror attacks on locations such as college cafeterias in the name of the barbaric Islamic group ISIS. The father had alerted the FBI of his son’s concerning support of the terror group three years ago.
Alexander Ciccolo, 25, who also went by the name Ali Al Amriki, pleaded guilty to several criminal counts including attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, attempting to use weapons of mass destruction, and being a convicted person in possession of firearms. He now faces a recommended 20 years in prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced in September.
According to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts, an unnamed individual who cooperated with investigators recorded conversations with Ciccolo. During the discussions, Ciccolo allegedly outlined that he wanted to conduct attacks on locations where there were large crowds, such as college cafeterias. He planned to set off explosive devices, such pressure cookers filled with nails, glass and other objects.
Ciccolo proceeded with the preliminary execution of his plan, purchasing a pressure cooker and partially assembling Molotov cocktails. He also obtained four firearms, which he ordered from an individual who assisted law enforcement officials in their investigation. Ciccolo was not allowed to obtain weapons being that he had previously been convicted of a crime in which he spent more than one year incarcerated.
The Associated Press notes that Ciccolo’s father, Capt. Robert Ciccolo, informed the FBI that his son had stated that he wanted to join ISIS. His tip led to an undercover investigation that resulted in Ciccolo’s arrest in July 2015. Ciccolo’s mother told reporters that her son converted to Islam a few years prior. He was also stated in court documents to have “a long history of mental illness.”
Ciccolo, who had once supported efforts for peace, began sharing content in favor of ISIS to social media, the Berkshire Eagle reports. One post featured a photograph of a deceased American soldier with the remark, “Thank you Islamic State! Now we won’t have to deal with these kafir back in America.”
“Even though he was born and raised in Massachusetts, Alexander Ciccolo swore allegiance to ISIS and planned to kill innocent civilians in the United States on ISIS’s behalf,” United States Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a statement. “There are a few lessons here: the threat of ‘homegrown’ radicalization and terror continues, and we are safest when we work together to spot and contain these threats.”
“Mr. Ciccolo is finally accepting responsibility for concocting an elaborate and frightening plot to engage in terrorism on behalf of ISIS,” also remarked Harold Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office. “Any material support of a terrorist organization threatens our national security, and had Mr. Ciccolo’s efforts to advance his agenda not been thwarted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, countless lives could have been lost in a lethal terrorist attack.”
The late British preacher Charles Spurgeon once declared, “God save us from living in comfort while sinners are sinking into Hell!”