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CROWN POINT, Ind.–An Indiana man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for plotting to carry out a terror attack, just days after the Pulse Night Club massacre in 2016. Marlonn Hicks, 31, of Crown Point, didn’t know that the person to whom he was trying to give manuals on explosives, was actually an FBI agent.

“Rather than mourning the tragic attacks in Orlando, Hicks was inspired  to try to commit a terror  attack to kill innocent victims in the United States,” said U.S. Atty. Thomas L. Kirsch, II.  “My Office, working with the FBI and the National Security Division, quickly and efficiently eliminated the threat to public safety created by Mr. Hicks’ illegal activities.” 

Hicks went from a supporter of ISIS online, to actually plotting an attack, said Kirsch.

Why the FBI got involved

“The online communications by Mr. Hicks drew swift attention from our agents, who had identified and monitored him early in his path to radicalization,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Grant Mendenhall. 

“As this radicalization deepened,  the FBI continued to monitor Mr. Hicks’ activity and took action to mitigate any threats ensuring the public’s safety,” said Mendenhall.

Getting busy

Hicks discussed “getting busy” with the FBI source who Hicks believed was an ISIS supporter, said a news release from Kirsch’s office. 

Hicks sent this source two manuals on how to manufacture and use explosives and poisons and continued to discuss with this FBI source possible terror attacks.  He made his motivation for the planned attacks clear, exclaiming that since the FBI and similar government personnel “have shut the door now  [on his ability to travel to ISIS controlled territory and fight there&#93  I’m gonna open the door to hell for them,” said Kirsch.

As he began to develop an attack plan, in addition to sending the above referenced manuals, he discussed coordinating attacks to create  “more of an audience.”  Hicks also discussed how to obtain firearms and practice with them.  He communicated to multiple sources and during his post-arrest interview that he wanted everyone to know the attacks were carried out in the name of ISIS.   

Hicks was also packing.

During FBI surveillance, Hicks warned one of the FBI sources to “be careful the boys was just following me” referring to then ongoing FBI surveillance.  During a message exchange with the FBI source Hicks said he was “strapped,” showed a picture of his firearm, and said “if they had me on anything I’d already be dead cause in Shaa Allah [translated as “god willing”] I ain’t going to jail.”  Hicks was arrested on federal charges without incident in July 2016 and has remained in federal custody since his arrest.  
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Indianapolis Division and the Indianapolis Joint Terrorism Task Force.  

PHOTO: IStock/Tero Vesalainen