WASHINGTON -- A 23-year-old Massachusetts man who reportedly had a "history of mental illness" and was "obsessed with Islam" was arrested on July 4 after an FBI informant gave him weapons as part of a terrorism sting operation, federal authorities revealed this week.
Alexander Ciccolo, also known as Ali Al Amriki, is the estranged son of a "respected Boston police captain," according to ABC News. So far, federal authorities have charged him only with being a felon in possession of firearms, but are revealing more about his case ahead of a detention hearing on Tuesday.
The FBI was tipped off in the fall of 2014 by a close acquaintance of Ciccolo's that he “had a long history of mental illness” and had been "obsessed with Islam" for a year and a half, according to court documents. Authorities found a Facebook profile under the name Ali Al Amriki that “contained information indicating the user was interested in martyrdom for the sake of Islam and was living in the United States." The documents also indicate that Ciccolo had expressed a desire to fight overseas.
The FBI soon arranged for a cooperating witness to meet with the defendant, and in a meeting last month he “spoke about his plans to travel to another state to conduct terrorist attacks on civilians, members of the U.S. military and law enforcement personnel,” the documents say.
Ciccolo was arrested on July 4 after being given firearms by a confidential human source who was working with the FBI. He was taken into custody while carrying two rifles and two handguns back to his apartment, according to authorities. In a meeting with a nurse during his processing at the jail, Ciccolo allegedly "grabbed a pen and forcefully stabbed the nurse in the head, leaving a bloody hole in the nurse's skin and causing the pen to break in half."
The documents note that Ciccolo had been charged with a DUI earlier this year, for which he was eventually put on probation.
FBI Director James Comey said last week that the FBI had made arrests that disrupted potential terrorist attacks in connection with the July 4 holiday, but at the time declined to provide additional details.