A former USA soldier from Jefferson City, Missouri was charged in federal court for making preparations to launch a terrorist attack in Kansas City with persons he believed were members of ISIS.
A Missouri man has been charged with allegedly attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State (Isis) and for plotting to launch a terrorist attack on Kansas City, the US Department of Justice said on Tuesday (21 February).
Hester was arrested by an undercover law enforcement agent on Friday, according to a release from the Office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
"First on social media, then during face-to-face meetings with an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation employee, this defendant repeatedly expressed his intent to engage in acts of violent jihad against the United States".
The indictment alleges the undercover officers told Hester multiple times that he could "walk away" from the plot or was informed such a mission would harm or kill a large number of people.
During a meeting January 31, the undercover employee provided Hester with a list of items to purchase, including 9-volt batteries, duct tape, copper wire and roofing nails.
Another meeting between Hester and the undercover agent took place the following day. Hester said, according to the affidavit, that it felt "good to help strike back at the true terrorist". He joined the army in 2012 but was discharged a year later for violating "numerous" regulations. The court documents quote Hester as saying the USA government should be "overthrown" and suggested "hitting the government hard".
Officials said undercover agents arrested Hester after setting up a meeting in which Hester was to provide roofing nails created to be put inside pipe bombs that would "cut peoples' heads off", as an undercover agent told him. A Facebook account that the Star identified as belonging to Hester includes what appear to be happy family photos alongside photos of guns and posts pointing out the hypocrisy of Christians blaming moderate Muslims for the actions of ISIS while doing nothing about the Ku Klux Klan, and blaming America for the attempted coup in Turkey last summer. Hester and the operative then drove to a storage facility, where they allegedly discussed the facility's security cameras, and Hester was arrested.
"I'm still stuttering, I'm still just shocked just like for real over here", says Loverna Shepherd, "'On this block?
If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison. The arrest was made public Tuesday after Hester made his first court appearance, during which a judge ordered him to remain in custody.