US Citizen Pleads Guilty to Recruiting for Lashkar-e-Taiba
An 18-year-old man from North Texas has pleaded guilty to charges that he conspired to actively recruit for the Pakistani-backed terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), according to a release from the Department of Justice last week. The release states that Michael Kyle Sewell conspired to recruit a âco-conspiratorâ to join Lashkar-e-Taibaâs terror-fueled cause in Kashmir, but his contact for facilitating travel turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.
Sewell pleaded guilty last week to his actions and now faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The individual Sewell attempted to recruit was identified only as âco-conspirator1,â however NDTV coverage of the case suggests that his partner was likely Jesus Wilfredo Encarnacion, arrested in February under similar circumstances. According to a February press release, Department of Justice noted that Encarnacion was âarrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport while allegedly attempting to travel overseas to join LeT,â and âconspired with another individual to provide that organization with material support.â
Looking at the two releases side-by-side a connection does appear to reveal itself, and NDTVâs citing of transcripts from the cases further links the two individualsâ hatred. A picture emerges of a growing interest from American extremists in the Pakistani-backed Kashmiri terror nexus. Both men expressed vitriolic hate aimed at Indians.
Jesus Encarnacion messaged an undercover FBI agent last year that he was âready to kill and die in the name of Allah,â stating âI want to execute. I want to behead.Â Shoot,â according to the DoJ. He also told the agent, âYou are beefing with India over Muslim land. I (expletive) hate Hindus.â Similarly, NDTV reported that according to transcripts, âMichael Sewell asked the FBI undercover employee âto (expletive) up and slaughter the Hindu Kafir, destroy their shrines and idols.’â
Reports also suggest that Encarnacion initially expressed interest in joining the Islamic State, but Sewell allegedly persuaded him to instead join LeT, stating â[donât]Â join the IS because IS has no territory.â This is a noteworthy point, as the Islamic Stateâs lack of physical territory is directly seen as inhibiting the groupâs recruitment prospects.
The Islamic State has since launched attacks in the Kashmir region, and announced a new province, âWilayat Hind,â for their operations there. However, as FDDâs Long War Journal Senior Editor Thomas Joscelyn wrote this week, âThe decision to claim the attacks as the work of new âprovinces,â which were announced with little fanfare, does not mean that the Islamic Stateâs men have necessarily increased their operational capacity in those areas.â
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