Phoenix man arrested on weapons charges was planning ISIS-inspired attack
PHOENIX — The FBI terrorism task force arrested a Phoenix man allegedly suspected of planning an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack in Arizona on Tuesday, court documents showed.
Derrick Thompson, aka Abu Talib al-Amriki, was arrested near 30th Street and Osborn Road in Phoenix after allegedly taking steps to commit an ISIS-inspired, lone-wolf attack in the state.
Court documents said Thompson tried to buy a semi-automatic weapon online in January 2015, but the seller sold the gun to someone else because Thompson was not in Phoenix at the time.
A probable cause statement filed in state court said it was clear Thompson attempted to buy a weapon “with the intent to use that weapon to promote or further the objectives of a criminal syndicate.”
Police also found that Thompson, who is not legally permitted to purchase a gun due to a felony conviction, had online postings dating back to July 2014 in support of ISIS and had “hundreds” of Google searches for weapons.
He also had searched for “midnight mass” and the difference between martyrdom and suicide.
Thompson was labeled as an “avowed jihadist” by court documents and had “numerous contacts” with ISIS websites.
ISIS has encouraged lone-wolf style attacks in the buildup to the Western holiday season. The terror group claimed responsibility for a truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market earlier this week that left 12 people dead and dozens injured.
Thompson was arrested for “participating in and assisting a criminal syndicate along with attempted misconduct involving weapons,” an FBI press release said.
“The investigation is ongoing and there are no indications of any additional threats associated with Thompson at this time,” Michael DeLeon, special agent in charge of the FBI Phoenix division, said in the press release.
Thompson was charged with one felony count of assisting a criminal syndicate and one felony count of misconduct involving weapons.
Thompson’s arrest comes a month after an 18-year-old Arizona man was sentenced to eight years in prison for terrorism convictions stemming from a plot to attack a motor vehicle office in metro Phoenix.
Mahin Khan of Tucson pleaded guilty to terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism, and conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons.
Authorities said Khan, who was arrested in July, wanted to attack the motor vehicle office in Mesa and instructed an undercover FBI employee to start building homemade grenades.
Khan was accused of wanting to inspire an insurgency in the U.S. to carry out attacks and had online exchanges with a person believed to be a member of the Islamic State terror group.
Authorities said Khan had also expressed a desire to attack a Jewish community center in Tucson and that investigators found a document in a search of his home that showed he wanted to attack a military recruiting center and a fitness location.
His defense attorney said Khan has struggled with mental health issues and shown poor impulse control but accepts responsibility for his actions.
Thompson, whose prior record includes a conviction for armed robbery in 2005, was being held in a Phoenix jail on a $100,000 cash-only bond. A preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 30.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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