A Boston police captain’s son pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges connected to an ISIS-inspired plot to detonate bombs in crowded areas, prosecutors said.
Alexander Ciccolo, 25, who used the alias Ali Al Amriki online, planned to set off the improvised explosive devices — including pressure cookers filled with nails, glass and ball bearings — in places like college cafeterias, the United States Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts said in a statement.
Ciccolo pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston to one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, one count of attempting to use weapons of mass destruction, assaulting a nurse in jail and other crimes, the statement said.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
Ciccolo agreed to serve a 20-year prison sentence followed by a lifetime of supervised release, prosecutors said. U.S. District Judge Mark Mastroianni set sentencing for Sept. 5.
Ciccolo’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ciccolo, whom court documents described as having “a long history of mental illness,” was arrested on July 4, 2015.
His father, Robert, had earlier alerted authorities to his son’s interest in the Islamic State, a Boston police official told NBC News. The younger Ciccolo later told an undercover investigator that he wanted to attack a college cafeteria with a pressure cooker bomb — the same device used in the Boston Marathon attack.
The FBI watched as Ciccolo bought a pressure cooker from a WalMart store and an undercover agent gave him four guns that authorities said he had requested. After his arrest, investigators found four partially finished Molotov cocktails filled with shredded Styrofoam and motor oil, a tactic, prosecutors said, intended to make the devices “stick to people’s skin and make it harder to put the fire out.”