But the details of the case show that the teenager, 18-year-old Humzah Mashkoor, was targeted online since he was 16 by at least four undercover FBI agents. And moreover, Mashkoor suffers from mental illness and has high-functioning autism, according to his family.
At least four other teenagers were arrested by the FBI on terrorism charges last year, under similar dubious circumstances.
Court records state that Mashkoor first came on the FBI’s radar in November 2021, shortly after the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Following a domestic violence incident involving Mashkoor and his family in June 2022—an incident resulting in the family telling law enforcement about his mental illness—the FBI began chatting with the then-juvenile online.
“Over the course of the investigation, Mashkoor spoke with four different [undercover FBI agents] who posed as fellow ISIS supporters,” stated the criminal complaint against Mashkoor.
“Mashkoor’s communications with the [undercover FBI agents] between September 2022 and December 2023 demonstrated that Mashkoor repeatedly expressed his intent to travel in order to join ISIS as a fighter, to provide money to ISIS to support their efforts, and to recruit others to also support ISIS through travel and/or financial contributions,” the complaint said.
According to The Intercept, which first broke the story about Mashkoor, his family told the judge about his mental illness at an initial court hearing, but the judge ordered him incarcerated anyway.
“It’s not lost on this court that Mr. Mashkoor is a young man with possible mental illness and the diagnosis of high-functioning autism. It is clear he has a sea of familial support,” the judge reportedly said. “But based on this evidence, there’s no reasonable assurance here that the court can simply chalk all this up to the defendant simply being a young man.”
Mashkoor’s arrest marked at least the fifth teenager arrested by the FBI last year in highly dubious terrorism stings.
Last July, then-18-year-old Davin Meyer was as he was about to board an international flight—also out of Denver—allegedly to travel to the Middle East and fight for ISIS. Meyer’s mother, who originally approached law enforcement out of concern for her son, said that the FBI entrapped the boy.
Before Meyer was arrested in July, the FBI announced in June that it arrested 18-year-old Mateo Ventura for intending to support ISIS. However, Ventura’s father, has also accused the FBI of entrapping his son.
Along with Meyer and Ventura, the FBI announced in August the arrest of a 17-year-old boy for supposedly plotting to carry out an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack on American soil.
Most recently, a Catholic family claimed their 15-year-old son was arrested after being targeted by FBI operatives online.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.