A former U.S. Army soldier from Missouri was arrested over the weekend for trying to provide material support to undercover agents acting as terrorist sympathizers.
FOX 2 reports that Robert Lorenzo Hester Jr., 24, was arrested after the FBI followed him for numerous months, even using agent to go undercover and speak with the suspect about planning a Kansas City terrorist attack. According to a 24-page indictment, Hester told undercover FBI employees that he was ready and willing to help pull off an attack on U.S. soil in any way possible.
— Kyle W. Orton (@KyleWOrton) February 22, 2017
The Missouri native reportedly used a number of online aliases while planning the attack, such as “Junaid Muhammad,” “Rabbani Junaid Muhammad,” and “Mohammed Junaid Al Amreeki.” He communicated with undercover agents using the aliases, and later, met a few agents in person. During an in-person meeting in January, one of the undercover agents gave Hester a list of items needed to make pipe bombs.
According to the agent, Hester “readily participated in the preparations for an attack, provided materials and resources for an attack, and voiced his intent to carry out an attack.” On numerous occasions, the undercover agents told Hester that he could always “walk away” from the plan. Instead of walking away, he gathered up bomb making materials and presented the items to the agents in February.
Missouri man Robert Lorenzo Hester Jr. accused of trying to aid ISIS-inspired attack https://t.co/KfukFfr45u
— Natasha Fatah (@NatashaFatah) February 21, 2017
When the undercover agent said that he had plans of “killing a lot of people” in an attack “10 times more” severe than the Boston Marathon attack, Hester reportedly supported the idea wholeheartedly.
Hester completed basic training in the Army in 2012. Yet, he was only in service for a little over before receiving a general discharge. He racked up numerous violations and infractions of the U.S. Army regulations while in service.
“Terrorism knows no demographic boundaries and remains the FBI’s top priority,” said Eric Jackson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Kansas City Field Office.
Hester remains in federal custody.
[Feature Photo: FBI Handout]