Maine teenager charged with plotting to attack Chicago-area mosque
According to unsealed court documents on Friday, Xavier Pelkey, who was 18 when he was arrested on February 11, was charged with a criminal complaint in federal court in Maine on one count of possession of unregistered destructive devices.
CNN has reached out to an attorney for Pelkey for comment.
In the documents, an FBI agent said investigators found three items in a backpack that appeared to be homemade explosive devices. An initial examination of the objects revealed that they were fireworks stuck with staples, pins and tacks, which the FBI agent said were “designed to increase the amount of shards of shells propelled by an explosion” in the event of detonation.
Prosecutors allege Pelkey planned to attack a Shia Muslim mosque in the Chicago area “over spring break” with a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old he had spoken to on Instagram.
FBI Agent Garrett Drew claims it was Pelkey’s job to acquire additional guns and ammunition and that he “constructed an explosive device ‘to lure in more people'”, according to reports. court documents.
Drew said in a statement filed in February and unsealed on Thursday that the 15-year-old from the Chicago area told the FBI that the three planned to enter the mosque, “separate the adults from the children, then murder the adults “.
“If they had not met law enforcement at that time, they would continue to another Shia mosque or Jewish synagogue and carry out the same plan,” the court filing said. “They had no plan to escape, but rather their plan ended with them being shot by law enforcement.”
Chicago FBI agents seized several firearms, swords, knives, a bow and arrow, several homemade ISIS flags and several electronic devices from the 15-year-old’s home while executing a search warrant in February, according to the court filing.
Investigators also searched the home of a 17-year-old in Kentucky in February, who investigators say spoke with Pelkey on Instagram, who told them that Pelkey had talked about “gathering material to make fireworks to attack someone”.
In the filing, Drew said the FBI investigation obtained information from Facebook for the Instagram account the two anonymous teens said they used to communicate, then linked it to an IP address for Pelkey. The FBI raided Pelkey’s home on February 11, he agreed to answer investigators’ questions and confirmed he was the owner of the Instagram account, the filing says. Investigators found three homemade explosives and homemade ISIS flags.