Texas 18-year-old pleads guilty to recruiting for terrorist group

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A Fort Worth man today pleaded guilty to a federal terrorism charge, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas.

Michael Kyle Sewell, 18, who was arrested in February, formally pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani-based foreign terrorist organization also known as LeT.

“Sewell allegedly used social media to recruit and encourage an individual to travel overseas to join a foreign terrorist organization and conspired with that person to provide material support to that organization,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “The National Security Division is committed to hold accountable those who engage in this behavior.”

“We stay on constant alert for radicals plotting attacks targeting citizens of the United States, here or abroad,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “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.”

According to court documents, Sewell admitted to encouraging an individual, identified in court documents only as coconspirator 1, to join LeT.

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 now faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He will be sentenced on Aug. 12, 2019 in Fort Worth.

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