American LeT recruiter admits to helping terror group

New York: A teenage American recruiter for the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has admitted in a Texas federal court that he was guilty of a conspiracy to help the terrorist organisation, according to John C. Demers, the assistant attorney-general for national security.

Michael Kyle Sewell, 18, who was arrested in February, admitted on Wednesday to encouraging an individual, identified in court documents only as co-conspirator 1, to join the LeT, the Department of Justice said.

They were caught by a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) undercover agent and an employee who infiltrated a terror recruitment ring by assuming the persona of jihadis, according to court documents.

Sewell, 18, described himself to the undercover employee as “lone wolf” and “Lone Lion of Tawhid”.

Sewell is now considered convicted because of his admission, which is called a guilty plea in the courts here.

When an accused pleads guilty, prosecutors often agree in return seek a to a more lenient punishment as they can avoid a full trial and the accused may cooperate with prosecutors and/or investigators.

When he is sentenced in the federal court in Fort Worth, Texas, on August 12, Sewell faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Another person, Jesus Wilfredo Encarnacion, 29, who was arrested at New York’s JFK airport as he was about to board plane on his mission to join the LeT in February, is facing trial in on charges of conspiring to help the LeT.

Although the co-conspirator was not identified in Sewell’s case documents, IANS by examining the documents in his and Encarnacion’s cases found parallels that link them .

Encarnacion, who is apparently co-conspirator, made contact with Sewell through social media and said he wanted to join the Islamic State (IS) terror group, according to the documents.

But Sewell told him “he should not join the IS because IS had no territory”, and instead he suggested the “LeT and the Taliban” as “worth joining”, according to transcripts in the documents.

Sewell put him in touch with a person he thought could help Encarnacion travel to Pakistan to join the LeT, but that person was the FBI undercover agent, court papers said.

Bloodthirsty hatred and bigotry are revealed in the transcripts of their communications.

Sewell aksed the FBI undercover employee “to ‘(expletive) up’ and ‘slaughter’ the ‘Hindu Kafir’, destroy their shrines and idols”, according to the transcripts.

Encarnacion wrote to Sewell, “Please. I want to kill on video. Terrify our enemies”, according to the transcripts.

According to the documents, Encarnacion wrote to the undercover employee: “You guys are against India. I read up on ya. You are beefing with India over Muslim land. I (expletive) hate Hindus. They can go to hell and I’m going to help you.”

“Will I live in Pakistan? I want to fight. I want to execute. I want to behead.”