BOSTON – An Adams man was charged in a superseding indictment today in connection with a plot to engage in terrorist activity inspired by and in the name of ISIL.
Alexander Ciccolo, a/k/a Ali Al Amriki, 23, was indicted on one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and one count of attempting to use of weapons of mass destruction. These charges were added to a pending indictment charging Ciccolo with one count of being a convicted person in possession of firearms and one count of assaulting a nurse during a jail intake process by use of a deadly weapon causing bodily injury. Ciccolo is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Springfield on July 7, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.
According to evidence presented at a previous detention hearing, on July 4, 2015, Ciccolo received four firearms which he had ordered from a person who was cooperating with members of the Western Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force, and who had been communicating with Ciccolo about his plans to engage in a terrorist act. Ciccolo was arrested immediately after receiving the firearms, which included a Colt AR-15 .223 caliber rifle, a SigArms Model SG550-1 556 rifle, a Glock 17-9 mm 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 therefore was prohibited from possessing firearms.
It is alleged that Ciccolo is a supporter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Ciccolo had spoken with a cooperating witness in recorded conversations about his plans to commit acts of terrorism inspired by ISIL, 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 congregate, like college cafeterias. Prior to his arrest, agents had observed Ciccolo purchase a pressure cooker similar to that used in the Boston Marathon bombings.
It is also alleged that during a search of Ciccolo’s apartment after he was arrested, agents found several partially constructed “Molotov cocktails.” These incendiary devices contained what appeared to be shredded Styrofoam soaking in motor oil. It is alleged that Ciccolo had previously stated that this mixture would cause the fire from the exploded devices to stick to people’s skin and make it harder to put the fire out.
Shortly after his arrest, while he was being processed at the Franklin County Correctional Center, Ciccolo allegedly stabbed a nurse with a pen, leaving a bloody gash on the top of the nurse’s head.
Ciccolo has been detained since his arrest in July 2015.
The charge of attempted provision of material support to a foreign terrorist organization provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction provides a sentence of life in prison, up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of being a prohibited person in possession of firearms provides a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of assault with a dangerous weapon causing bodily injury provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. This investigation was conducted by the Western Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force, and member agencies of the JTTF including the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Springfield, Ludlow, Holyoke, West Springfield, Easthampton, and Pittsfield Police Departments; the Massachusetts State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, and critical assistance from the Adams Police Department and the Massachusetts State Regional Hazardous Materials Response Team.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deepika Bains Shukla and Kevin O’Regan of Ortiz’s Springfield Branch Office and Trial Attorney Andrew Sigler of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.