Monday, July 13, 2015

Son of Boston Police capt. charged in connection with ISIS terrorism plot

Developing story.
BOSTON (WHDH) - A man from Adams has been arrested and charged in connection with a plot to engage in terrorism on behalf of ISIS.

Alexander Ciccolo, 23, was charged with being a felon in possession of firearms. The criminal complaint was unsealed on Monday.

Ciccolo is the son of Boston Police Captain Robert Ciccolo, who was one of the first responders to the Boston Marathon bombing. Capt. Ciccolo is in charge of the Boston Police Department's 911 call center. He has served with the department for more than 25 years.

According to the complaint affidavit, Alexander Ciccolo took delivery of four firearms on July 4, 2015, which he had ordered from a person who was cooperating with members of the Western Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force. Ciccolo was arrested immediately after taking delivery of the firearms, which included a Glock 17-9mm pistol and a Glock 20-10 mm pistol.

Ciccolo had previously been convicted of a crime punishable by more than a year in jail and was prohibited from possessing firearms.

It is alleged that Ciccolo is a supporter of the Islamic State group. According to an affidavit, Ciccolo spoke with a cooperating witness in recorded conversations about his plans to commit acts of terrorism inspired by ISIS -- including setting off improvised explosive devices such as pressure cookers filled with black powder, nails, ball bearings and glass -- in places where large numbers of people were gather, such as college cafeterias.

The FBI arranged for the cooperating witness to meet Ciccolo, who told the witness he had a plan to engage in domestic terrorism operations. The witness agreed to participate with Ciccolo.

On June 24, 2015, Ciccolo met with the cooperating witness in person in Pittsfield. The meeting was audio recorded. During the meeting, Ciccolo spoke about his plans to travel to another state to conduct terrorist attacks on civilians, members of the US military and law enforcement personnel.

Ciccolo told the cooperating witness he would attack two different bars and a police station. He also stated he planned to use improvide explosive devices during the attack to include pressure cooker bombs and/or portable microwave bombs.

On June 30, 2015, Ciccolo had another meeting with the cooperating witness in Springfield, which was also audio-recorded. Ciccolo discussed his plan to conduct an attack in another state. He described a list of items, including four AK-47s, two sniper rifles, four handguns and improvised grenades.

During the same meeting, Ciccolo explained he had changed his plans from targeting a police station to targeting a university, because there were more people at the university. He said he wanted to conduct the attack before Ramadan was over, and no later than July 31.

Ciccolo said he intended to place a few explosives on campus before the attack and would plan to attack the cafeteria at lunchtime. He said he wanted to use pressure cookers to make a big explosion. He also said he was inspired by the Boston Marathon bombing, using the same materials and emptying fireworks into a pressure cooker.

The FBI affidavit says Ciccolo said he would execute students and broadcast the executions on the internet.

Agents also allegedly found several partially constructed Molotov cocktails in Ciccolo's apartment.

On Monday, the Ciccolo family released a statement:

“While we were saddened and disappointed to learn of our son’s intentions, we are grateful that authorities were able to prevent any loss of life or harm to others. At this time, we would ask that the public and the media recognize our grief and respect our desire for privacy.”

A detention hearing has been scheduled for July 14 at 3:30 p.m. in U.S. District Court in Springfield.