Robert Lorenzo Hester (Image source: KSHB-TV)
An American-born citizen was arrested Friday for allegedly plotting an ISIS style President’s Day attack “ten times” worse than the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
Robert Lorenzo Hester Jr., 25, of Columbia, Missouri, was taken into federal custody as the result of an FBI undercover operation that started months ago.
Authorities said Hester had been communicating with two undercover FBI agents, who he thought to be ISIS sympathizers, since October to carry out terror attacks on buses, trains and a train station in Kansas City, Missouri. (Source)
“First on social media, then during face-to-face meetings with the undercover FBI employees, this defendant repeatedly expressed his intent to engage in acts of violent jihad against the United States,” U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Tammy Dickinson said. “He believed he was part of an ISIS-sponsored terrorist attack that would result in the deaths and injuries of many innocent victims.”
Hester joined the U.S. Army but received a general discharge in mid-2013. (Source)
An Army spokeswoman told the Star that a general discharge typically means the individual’s “conduct and/or performance of duty were not so meritorious to warrant an honorable discharge.”
“Recipients of general discharges usually have engaged in minor misconduct or have received nonjudicial punishment under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” the spokeswoman added.
The FBI started looking into Hester’s actions in September after he allegedly wrote on Facebook that the U.S. government should be “overthrown” and advocated for “hitting” the U.S. government “hard.” Hester allegedly posted the statements under the alias “Rami Talib.”
The same Facebook page featured a photo of who the Kansas City Star reported being Hester and his two children.