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National Security
02/08/2019

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North Texas man charged with conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization

FORT WORTH, Texas — A North Texas man was charged Friday with conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

These charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox, Northern District of Texas. This case was investigated by the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force. The investigating JTTF members include the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Texas police departments of Arlington and Fort Worth, Tarrant County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office, Naval Criminal Investigation Service, and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Michael Kyle Sewell, 18, was charged Feb. 8 by criminal complaint with conspiring to provide material support and resources to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani-based foreign terrorist organization.

As set forth in the complaint, Sewell recruited an individual, identified in the complaint as co-conspirator 1, to join Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a designated foreign terrorist organization.  Sewell met the co-conspirator online and encouraged him to join LeT.

Sewell provided the co-conspirator with contact information for an individual he believed could facilitate the co-conspirator’s travel to join the organization. Unbeknownst to Sewel and the co-conspirator, the facilitator was an undercover FBI agent.

Sewell coached the co-conspirator 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 co-conspirator’s authenticity. Sewell told both the co-conspirator and the facilitator that he would kill the co-conspirator if he turned out to be a spy.

The co-conspirator made contact with the facilitator and made arrangements with the facilitator to travel to Pakistan to join LeT.

“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 Eric K. Jackson, special agent-in-charge of the FBI Dallas Division. "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.”

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 02/11/2019