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NC man gets 15 years in prison for trying to recruit ISIS terrorists

An ISIS fighter carries the Islamic State flag. (Wikipedia/Released)
February 06, 2019

A North Carolina man was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a federal judge after he attempted to bolster the ranks of ISIS.

Erick Jamal Hendricks, 38, of Charlotte was found guilty last year in Ohio of attempting and conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, according to the Justice Department.

Court documents disclosed that Hendricks tried to enlist people to collectively carry out terrorist attacks in the name of ISIS across the U.S.

Assistant Attorney General Demers said, “Hendricks used social media to recruit others to plan and carry out attacks on our homeland in the name of ISIS, with the goal of creating a sleeper cell on our soil. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of law enforcement, Hendricks’ plan was thwarted, and with today’s sentence, he is being held accountable for his terrorist activities.”

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U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman of the Northern District of Ohio said, “This defendant sought to create a cell of ISIS supporters, train those people and then launch attacks from inside the United States. This defendant posed a very real threat to the safety of our community and nation.”

Special Agent in Charge Eric Smith of the FBI’s Cleveland Office said, “Erick Jamal Hendricks represents the significant online ISIS threat that we face daily – a US citizen that became radicalized online and attempted to recruit and train individuals to commit jihad, all while living in the United States. The FBI urges the public to report information regarding individuals pledging their allegiance to ISIS or other identified terrorist groups.  The FBI is pleased that Hendricks was stopped before he was successful and now will spend a significant amount of time behind bars.”

Trial testimony revealed that Hendricks reached out to Amir Al-Ghazi in 2015 in an attempt to recruit him.

Hendricks told him that there were a number of like-minded individuals who wanted to meet up and discuss attacks they could carry out in the U.S.

Shortly after that, Amir Al-Ghazi was arrested in the Northern District of Ohio when he tried to buy an AK-47 rifle and ammunition from an undercover law enforcement officer.

He is serving a 16-year prison sentence after pleading guilty.

Al-Ghazi testified that Hendricks verified his religious wisdom and commitment and asked about his “willingness to commit ‘jihad,’ to die as a ‘martyr’ and his desire to enter ‘jannah’ (paradise),” the Justice Department said.

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Al-Ghazi said he was under the assumption that Hendricks was recruiting people to carry out a terror attack and was interviewing Al-Ghazi to see if he qualified.

He also had reason to believe that Hendricks and the “brothers” in Texas and Mexico may have been responsible for a foiled terrorist attack in Garland, Texas on May 3, 2015.

One of the people that Hendricks communicated with was an undercover FBI agent called UCE-1.

He told UCE-1 to download the document “GPS for the Ghuraba in the U.S.,” which included a section entitled “Final Advice” that encouraged “brothers and sisters” to avoid allowing themselves to go to jail.

Part of the document “encouraged Muslims to die as a ‘Shaheed’ (martyr), to ‘Boobie trap your homes,’ to ‘lay in wait for them’ and to ‘never leave your home without your AK-47 or M16,'” the Justice Department revealed.

Hendricks told UCE-1 to stay in touch with online brothers and said, “It’s hard to sift through brothers. Allah chooses only the few. Every day I do this day in and day out.”

Court documents said that Hendricks said it was his goal to build a trained sleeper cell who would remain in a secure location until called to carry out attacks on U.S. soil, mostly against U.S. service members.