A New Jersey teenager pleaded guilty Monday to a plot to assassinate Pope Francis during his 2015 visit to Philadelphia, federal prosecutors say.
Santos Colon, 15 years old at the time, attempted to hire a sniper to shoot the Pope during the World Meeting of Families closing mass. Colon admitted to planning to set off bombs in Philadelphia as well.
According to court documents, Colon pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to terrorists. With the plea deal, prosecutors dropped three other charges filed against him as a juvenile, including attempting to provide support to ISIS or attempting to obtain a weapon of mass destruction.
The attack was set for the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia in September 2015.
Colon attempted to hire a sniper to kill Pope Francis during the mass, but the person he recruited turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. Colon was arrested 12 days before the event.
“Colon engaged someone he believed would be the sniper, but in reality was an undercover FBI employee. Colon engaged in target reconnaissance with an FBI confidential source and instructed the source to purchase materials to make explosive devices,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
Colon faces up to 15 years in prison, but a date for his sentencing has not been set.