Kansas City, MO - Army washout Robert Hester, Jr., was arrested on Friday morning for his involvement in what he thought would be an ISIS attack on Kansas City.
Robert Hester, age 25, of Columbia, Missouri, reached out to undercover FBI agents posing as Islamic State (ISIS) operatives and offered his assistance in a jihadist attack, according to Fox News. He was told that the attack would target "buses, trains, and a train station" in Kansas City on Monday. The day chosen was intentional because it was a national President's Day holiday.
In an affidavit released after Robert Hester's first court appearance on Friday, the FBI became aware through multiple sources of his social media posts, according to Fox4 KC. In these posts, he expressed hostility toward the United States and an "adherence to radical Islamic theology" and a "propensity for violence." Hester used several online aliases including “Mohammed Junaid Al Amreeki,” “Junaid Muhammad,” “Rabbani Junaid Muhammad,” “Rami Talib,” and “Ali Talib Muhammad.”
In an unrelated incident, Hester had been arrested in October 2016 by Columbia Police Officers after an incident in a grocery store parking lot. It appeared that he was having an argument with his wife, and threw a folded pocket knife through a plate glass window near the store entrance. When confronted by store employees, Hester 'assumed an aggressive stance' and reached into a diaper bag that he was carrying in such a manner that it appeared as if he were reaching for a weapon. A 9mm handgun was later recovered from the diaper bag by police officers. He was arrested and remained in custody for 10 days, and was then released under electronic monitoring.
Two days after his release, Hester was contacted via private message by an undercover FBI agent. Hester had sent her a friend request the day before he was arrested for the grocery store incident. Both continued to communicate via social media, text, and an encrypted messaging app. During these communications, Hester presented himself as a security threat to this country, with messages such as the United States should be "overthrown," and that the government should be "hit hard". He also said in the messages that it would not be "a one-man job."
In the messages, Robert Hester identified specific categories of targets for attack and said that he wanted "a global jihad." He also talked about finding people to help. When the undercover agent mentioned "brothers," Hester said that he wanted to meet them. In early November, 2016, Hester arranged through the first undercover agent to meet one of the "brothers," another undercover FBI agent.
They met on January 17, and the undercover FBI agent provided Hester with a list of items to purchase, including 9-volt batteries, duct tape, copper wire, and roofing nails. The agent told Robert Hester that these items would be used to make bombs, "...things to make some kind of destruction." Hester's response was that he was ready to help in any way that he could. The undercover agent made a statement that what they were planning would "bring them to their knees" so that they would "fear Allah." Hester said "I can't wait, I can't wait."
He continued to express approval of the planned attack and told the undercover agent that it would be "good to strike back as the true terrorist." Hester was offered the opportunity by the agent to walk away and he refused, stating that he "was down." At one meeting the agent, showed Hester what appeared to be bombs, and explained how the nails would be attached. This would allow for severe injuries because the nails would act like shrapnel. Hester agreed that he understood what damage bombs could do. The messages between the two then used the encryption app and details continued to be fine-tuned. At a final meeting, they went to one of the targeted sites and looked at security cameras in the area. Hester was then arrested.
Robert Hester, a U.S. citizen, joined the Army in 2012 and completed basic training. He received a general discharge in 2013 after violating several Army regulations. Hester referred to his Army service when talking with the undercover agent to claim "proficiency with assault weapons" and said that his favorite weapon was "the AK-47."
U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson said “First on social media, then during face-to-face meetings with an undercover FBI employee, this defendant repeatedly expressed his intent to engage in acts of violent jihad against the United States." She said “He believed he was part of an ISIS-sponsored terrorist attack that would result in the deaths and injuries of many innocent victims. He readily participated in the preparations for an attack, provided materials and resources for an attack, and voiced his intent to carry out an attack."
He was charged by the Department of Justice with Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS, and is being held at a federal facility. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
Thanks to the FBI, this scum should be in prison for the rest of his life so that he would no longer be a danger to society.
Do you think that this type of investigation is entrapment, or good police work? We'd like to know what you think. Please let us know in the poll below or on our Facebook page.