Young Man Allegedly Plotted Against Churchgoers

Young Man Allegedly Plotted Against Coworkers

( – In 1980, the FBI created the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) to help address the growing risks of domestic and foreign terrorism. There are nearly 200 branches around the United States, equipped with agents diligently working to detect and prevent attacks before they happen. Recently, authorities arrested an 18-year-old Idaho teenager after a JTTF investigation revealed he had churchgoers in his crosshairs.

According to a press release from the Department of Justice’s Office of Public Affairs, 18-year-old Alexander Scott Mercurio was arrested and taken into custody in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on April 6. He’s accused of and charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS, a federal crime.

Investigators determined that Mercurio was planning to carry out attacks on individuals at churches on April 7, before the end of Ramadan. He is accused of purchasing materials to make bombs and allegedly had a plan in place to attack his father so he could steal his firearms to use in the attacks.

According to the complaint, Mercurio pledged his allegiance to ISIS and had planned to die in the attack in the name of the terrorist organization. The FBI first became aware of Mercurio in 2021 while investigating a fundraising network that raised and laundered money to send to terrorist organizations.

The agency continued to monitor him over the next three years, including his encrypted group chats with ISIS supporters. They eventually uncovered a plot where Mercurio had planned to head to a church and carry out his attack, “kill[ing] as many as possible … then burn the temple to the ground.” The idea was to flee and continue to do the same to every church in town.

It’s not clear when Mercurio will appear in court again. However, if he is convicted of the charge against him, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

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