FBI: Man attempted to create ISIL cell, tried to recruit person from NE Ohio

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A North Carolina man has been arrested, accused of attempting to create an ISIL cell and trying to recruit an individual from Northeast Ohio.

According to a criminal complaint unsealed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Ohio, Erick Jamal Hendricks, 35, tried to recruit people to train together and conduct terrorist attacks in the United States on behalf of ISIL.

He was arrested Thursday morning in Charlotte and is charged with conspiring to provide material support to ISIL.

“This case serves as yet another stark reminder that we have supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that reside in the United States, like Mr. Hendricks, that are willing to inspire others to commit violent acts against innocent citizens,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony.  “We must all – law enforcement and community members alike – do our part to identify and hold accountable those that support known terrorist organizations.  The FBI and our many partners will continue to be vigilant and disrupt those who wish to commit terrorism on our soil.”

According to court documents, an individual was arrested in Northeast Ohio in June 2015 after trying to purchase an AK-47 assault rifle and ammunition from an undercover law enforcement officer. The individual had pledged allegiance to ISIL in social media and made statements expressing interest in conducting attacks in the U.S.

Hendricks allegedly had contacted the individual over social media to recruit him in spring 2015. Hendricks allegedly told the individual he "needed people," wanted to meet in person and wanted "to get brothers to train together."

Court documents say Hendricks also communicated with several others, including an undercover FBI employee, and said his goal was to create a sleeper cell and conduct attacks in the United States. He mentioned potential targets included military members.

If convicted, Hendricks faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.