On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Mastroianni in Springfield, Massachusetts sentenced the son of a Boston police captain to 20 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for plotting ISIS-inspired terror attacks.
The police captain was a first responder to the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, Fox News reported. His son, Alexander Ciccolo, 26, was arrested in July 2015 for planning an attack similar to the Boston Marathon bombing on a college campus.
Massachusetts Man Inspired by ISIS Sentenced for Plotting to Engage in Terrorist Activity https://t.co/K2kuL1Nzpq
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) September 5, 2018
Ciccolo has been detained since his arrest, according to the Department of Justice.
Alexander, a.k.a. Ai Al Amriki, pleaded guilty in May to terrorism charges including attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction, among other charges.
He purchased four guns from an FBI cooperative, which included a Colt AR-15 .223 caliber rifle, a SigArms Model SG550-1 556 rifle, a Glock 17-9 mm pistol, and a Glock 20-10 mm pistol.
Ciccolo had previously been convicted of a crime punishable by more than a year in jail and was prohibited from possessing firearms.
He admitted to planning on using homemade pressure cooker bombs. He had already purchased the pressure cooker. His plans included attacking places in New Mexico where larger crowds gather, a college university, a gay bar, and a police station, according to authorities, the Huffington Post reported.
Ciccolo’s father, who’s served 35 years in law enforcement and supervised more than two dozen officers during the Boston Marathon attack, played a critical role in the arrest of his son.
His father, Capt. Robert Ciccolo, alerted police about his son’s concentration on ISIS. He has not spoken publicly about his son’ arrest but his lawyer said Ciccolo didn’t believe his son would have followed through with any attacks.
Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts said in a post-sentencing statement, “Alexander Ciccolo planned to kill innocent civilians in the United States on ISIS’s behalf. Even though he was born and spent most of his life in Massachusetts, Ciccolo decided to turn against his country and plotted to attack his fellow Americans.”
After his arrest, police discovered several partially-made Molotov cocktails filled with “shredded Styrofoam and motor oil,” which makes the cocktail stickier and harder to extinguish.
Police also found two machetes, a long, curved knife, and a pressure cooker, very much like the ones used in the Marathon bombings.
According to prosecutors, Alexander posted a picture of the Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on his Facebook page and said, “JUSTICE FOR JAHAR KEEP THE HOPE.”
Assistant Attorney General Demers said: “The National Security Division will not tolerate threats to our country and its people. Not only did Ciccolo admit to supporting ISIS, a well-known terrorist group, but he also collected weapons and explosives in order to further their goal of murdering innocent Americans. This sentence holds him accountable for breaking our laws and putting American lives at risk.”
“Make no mistake, Alexander Ciccolo was a committed soldier of ISIS who wanted to kill innocent people at a United States university with assault rifles and pressure cooker bombs, not an unwitting dupe who didn’t understand the gravity of what he was doing. He repeatedly expressed his desire to engage in acts of violent jihad against our country, and with this sentencing, he will now pay the price for conspiring with a foreign terrorist organization,” said Special Agent in Charge, Harold H. Shaw of the FBI’s Boston Field Office.
“I commend the hard work and collaboration of all involved, specifically the Western Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force who successfully thwarted Ciccolo’s terroristic plot before any lives were lost. We all play a role in safeguarding our country, and this case not only highlights the importance of continued vigilance, but the significance that family, friends, or by-standers can play in reporting threats or suspicious activities,” Shaw added.
“Thanks to the tireless investigation and swift response of our law enforcement partners, Ciccolo was unable to carry out his violent plan. The sentence handed down today reflects our commitment to bringing all those whose allegiance lies with terrorists to justice,” Lelling said.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deepika Bains Shukla and Kevin O’Regan of Lelling’s Springfield Branch Office and Trial Attorney Andrew Sigler of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section prosecuted this case.