US DOJ – Fort Worth – A Texas man was charged today with conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas, and Special Agent in Charge Eric Jackson of the FBI’s Dallas Division made the announcement.
Michael Kyle Sewell, 18, of Arlington, Texas, was charged today by criminal complaint in Fort Worth, Texas, with conspiring to provide material support and resources to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistani-based foreign terrorist organization. Sewell has been detained pending further court proceedings.
“Sewell allegedly used social media to recruit and encourage an individual to travel overseas to join a foreign terrorist organization and conspired with that person to provide material support to that organization,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “The National Security Division is committed to hold accountable those who engage in this behavior.”
“We stay on constant alert for radicals plotting attacks targeting citizens of the United States, here or abroad,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “Countering terrorist threats is our highest priority, and we will continue to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters abroad and bring justice to those who attempt to provide material support to foreign terror organizations. I would like to thank the FBI and our Joint Terrorism Task Force partners for all that they do to keep our communities safe.”
“The men and women of FBI Dallas along with our local, state, and federal partners will continue to work diligently against homegrown violent extremists who provide support to any foreign terrorist organization,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jackson. “As threats are uncovered to the community we serve, the FBI and its partners must continue to ensure we are vigilant and determined to prevent any harm to this great nation.”
As set forth in the complaint, Sewell recruited an individual, identified in the complaint as co-conspirator 1, to join LeT, a designated foreign terrorist organization. Sewell met the coconspirator online and encouraged him to join LeT.
Sewell provided the coconspirator with contact information for an individual who he believed could facilitate the coconspirator’s travel to join the organization. Unbeknownst to Sewell and the coconspirator, the facilitator was an undercover FBI agent.
Sewell coached the coconspirator about what to say to convince the facilitator that he was sincere in his desire to fight for LeT. Sewell also contacted the facilitator to vouch for the coconspirator’s authenticity. Sewell told both the coconspirator and the facilitator that he would kill the coconspirator if he turned out to be a spy.
The coconspirator made contact with the facilitator and made arrangements with the facilitator to travel to Pakistan to join LeT.
The FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force members; including the Arlington Police Department, the Fort Worth Police Department, the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Texas Department of Public Safety investigated the case.