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NYC man hoped to execute, behead people for terror group, officials say

A Manhattan man who federal authorities said had hoped to execute, behead and shoot people on behalf of a terrorist organization was arrested at Kennedy Airport on Thursday night while trying to board a plane to Pakistan to join the group, officials said.

Jesus Wilfredo Encarnacion, 29, was arrested while trying to travel to meet up with members of Lashkar e-Tayyiba, a U.S. State Department-designated terrorist group. Federal authorities believe the group is responsible for the November 2008 bombings and shootings in Mumbai, India, federal officials said in a news release Friday.

Officials have charged that Encarnacion was attempting and conspiring to provide material support to Lashkar e-Tayyiba. The group is believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 160 people in attacks that took place from Nov. 26 to Nov. 29, 2008.

Encarnacion was scheduled to appear Friday before Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman in Manhattan federal court. Each of the charges is punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

It was unclear Friday evening if he had retained an attorney to represent him at the proceeding.

“The excellent work of the FBI and NYPD stopped Encarnacion’s alleged plan to support this deadly terrorist organization before he took flight, and now he will face federal terrorism charges,” Geoffrey S. Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

Officials said Encarnacion’s alleged plans to attack people on behalf of the group were discovered during his conversations over the past few months with an undercover FBI agent whom he met in an online chat group in November 2018. The conversations led to Encarnacion’s purchase of a plane ticket to travel on Thursday to Pakistan.

“Over the past several months, Encarnacion has discussed his desire and plans to join Lashkar e-Tayyiba overseas so that he could receive training and participate in violent acts of terrorism,” officials said, adding that Encarnacion said he was “ready to kill and die in the name of Allah” and that, “I want to execute. I want to behead. Shoot.”

He was apprehended at Kennedy by the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which consists of agents from the FBI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, detectives from the NYPD and other agencies, officials said.

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