December 23, 2016 / 9:49 PM / 9 months ago

Arizona man arrested for plotting Islamic State-inspired attack

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona man authorities described as an avowed Jihadist was arrested for plotting an Islamic State-inspired lone-wolf attack in the state.

Derrick Raymond Thompson, 30, of Phoenix was charged with one felony count each of assisting a criminal syndicate and misconduct involving weapons stemming from his activities since at least July 2014, according to FBI officials and documents filed with an Arizona state court.

Thompson, also known as Abu Talib Al-Amriki, remains in a Maricopa County jail after his arrest on Tuesday by FBI agents as part of the agency’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, officials said. He is being held on a $100,000 cash bond.

The target of the attack was not specified in the documents filed at the Encanto Justice of the Peace Court in Phoenix. FBI officials said the investigation is continuing but there were no indications of additional threats.

Agents said in court documents filed on Thursday that Thompson attempted to buy a semi-automatic weapon online in January 2015 despite being unable to legally do so because of a prior felony conviction.

The deal to buy the weapon never materialized because Thompson was out of town and the firearm was sold, the court documents stated. But authorities said he then asked the seller for another weapon.

The probable cause statement said Thompson intended to use the gun in a “lone wolf” type attack in Arizona.

Authorities pointed to more than two years of communications and activity engaged in by Thompson, including hundreds of online searches for various weapons and related items and numerous contacts with Islamic State-related websites. 

Islamic State is a militant group that seized parts of Syria and Iraq, and claimed responsibility for deadly bomb and gun attacks in other countries.  

Agents said in court documents that Thompson searched the internet for information on Catholic midnight mass church services and martyrdom versus suicide one day in October and about killing civilians and what weapons are most powerful.

Last month, Mahin Khan, 18, was sentenced to eight years in prison and lifetime probation for plotting to bomb an Arizona motor vehicle office. Khan, who the FBI claimed had professed to be an “American jihadist,” previously pleaded guilty to terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons charges.

An attorney for Thompson was not listed in court documents.

Reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix

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