NEW YORK, Nov 20 (Reuters) – A New York teenager charged with conspiring to support Islamic State should be tried as an adult, despite having been only 17 at that time he allegedly committed the crime, a federal judge ruled.
The teenager, who remains unidentified in court documents, is one of a half dozen guys in New York and New Jersey whom authorities have arrested since June as part of a broader investigation to some purported conspiracy to aid the militant group.
U.S. authorities have pursued a number of “lone wolf” plotters that were apparently motivated by Islamic State’s propaganda, including analyses in all 50 states.
Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL, claimed responsibility for last week’s attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. The group also claimed responsibility for downing a Russian airliner in Egypt last month, killing 224.
Federal authorities said the teenager, who’s now 18, was friends with Munther Omar Saleh, a school student in the nyc borough of Queens.
Saleh and the unnamed man discussed plans to assemble an explosive device to put off from the New York metropolitan area, according to prosecutors. On June 19, federal agents were following the two guys in a surveillance vehicle once the guys got out of the car and ran at the agents, prompting their arrest at gunpoint.
The Justice Department had filed a sealed motion to try out the adolescent as an adult, citing the seriousness of the charged crime and the fact that he was just shy of 18 at the time of his arrest.
In an opinion made public this week, U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie in Brooklyn agreed with the government’s argument.
“Although their ultimate goals were not accomplished, this fact doesn’t undermine the significant nature of the alleged conspiracy,” she wrote.
The teenager’s court-appointed attorney declined to comment.
Two of the other men charged in the conspiracy, Samuel Topaz and Alaa Saadeh, have pleaded guilty in New Jersey. They admitted in court that they discussed strategies to travel abroad to combine Islamic State together with Saleh and Saadeh’s brother, Nader Saadeh, that has also been billed.
Fareed Mumuni, a New York guy, was arrested in June after authorities said he tried to stab a national agent executing a search warrant at his residence.
Mumuni had discussed assaulting law enforcement with a bomb with Sadeh, according to prosecutors.
(Reporting from Joseph Ax; Editing by Tom Brown)
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