A married Army veteran from Columbia, Missouri, was charged Sunday in federal court with attempting to provide material support or resources to “a foreign terrorist organization.”
Robert Lorenzo Hester Jr., 25, a Muslim convert, was arrested by the FBI on Friday. Hester was allegedly plotting an ISIS-style attack in Kansas City for Presidents’ Day targeting buses, trains, and Union Station.
He was taken into custody after meeting up with federal agents posing as Islamic State terrorists whom he’d been speaking to for months.
Via the Daily Mail:
They began watching him in August 2016 after being tipped off to social media accounts in which he described his hatred of the US and how he’d converted to Islam.
He had allegedly agreed to supply weapons and help organize a Presidents’ Day terror attack at bus and train stations across Kansas City.
Hester, who has two young children, told them how he wanted to ‘overthrow’ the US and ‘hit it hard’, the Justice Department said.
Police say that for months he exchanged text messages with agents describing how he wanted to start ‘global jihad’ and put together an attack ’10 times’ as deadly as the Boston marathon bombings.
On one occasion he had one of the agents round to his family home in Columbia, Missouri, where he gave him a bag full of materials to build a bomb, authorities said.
According to the criminal complaint, an FBI agent posing as a member of ISIS told Hester of his plans to kill “a lot of people” in a Kansas City Presidents’ Day attack. The agent met with him on Jan. 31 and gave him a list of materials to purchase for the attack.
The list included 9-volt batteries, duct tape, copper wire and roofing nails. The undercover agent later told Hester about plans for something “10 times more” than the Boston Marathon bombing, and Hester expressed his approval.
The agent told Hester he didn’t have to take part, but Hester allegedly responded: “I’m down.”
Later, he told him he ‘couldn’t wait’ for the attack and that it was ‘time they pay for their atrocities’.
On February 17, he brought two more boxes of roofing nails to a meeting with the FBI agent at a storage facility. He was arrested moments later.
In a separate incident, Hester was arrested in October for throwing a knife through a store window during a rage-fueled fight with his wife.
Hester reportedly used five aliases on social media: “Mohammed Junaid Al Amreeki,” “Junaid Muhammad,” “Rabbani Junaid Muhammad,” “Rami Talib,” and “Ali Taleb Muhammad.”
He also posted photos of weapons and the ISIS flag. He identified himself at one point as a “Zionist Jew Pig Redneck Hunting Super Assassin.” On another occasion, Hester wrote, “Brothers in AmurdiKKKa we need to get something going here all those rednecks have their little militias why shouldn’t we do the same.”
The jihadi wannabe was discharged from the military in 2013 during combat training for violating regulations, officials told the Kansas City Star.
Mere months before he began plotting an ISIS-style attack in Kansas City, Hester was decrying ISIS on Facebook, parroting the liberal trope that the Islamic State butchers aren’t Islamic:In other posts he shared his hatred of the United States and claimed that ISIS was “created by the U.S. and Israeli governments.”