A Camden County teen admitted in federal court Monday to plotting to kill Pope Francis during his 2015 visit to Philadelphia.
Santos Colon, 17, of Lindenwold, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden to a charge of attempting to provide material support to terrorists, according to court records.
Colon, also known as Ahmad Shakoor, had tried to recruit a person he thought was a sniper to join him in his plot, which involved shooting the Pope during his Papal mass and setting off explosive devices, according to a statement from Acting U.S. Attorney William E Fitzgerald and Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord.
Authorities say the “sniper” was actually an undercover operative for the FBI, which arrested Colon after he scoped out possible targets with an informant, who Colon also instructed to purchase bomb components.
ABC News, citing a bulletin circulated among federal law enforcement agencies, previously reported that Colon had been inspired by ISIS and had obtained instructions to make explosives over the internet.
Documents filed in U.S. District Court indicate Colon was initially charged under seal as a juvenile in August 2015. His case was transferred for prosecution as an adult as part of his plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Under the terms of the plea deal, prosecutors have agreed not to pursue further charges against him for attempting to provide support to ISIS and attempting to obtain a weapon of mass destruction.
Colon is a U.S. citizen, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors say he faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Colon is next scheduled to appear before Hillman for a status conference on May 5, according to court records. A sentencing date has not been set.
New Jersey is under siege – see our NJ archives, 247 posts deep.
And just yesterday we learned the identity of a Syrian Muslim teen in South Carolina who plotted jihad and was released on parole only to plot jihad again.