A married army veteran has been arrested for plotting an ISIS style attack on Kansas City.
Robert Lorenzo Hester Jr., 25, from Columbia, Missouri, was taken into custody on Friday after meeting up with undercover FBI agents posing as terrorists who he’d been speaking to for months.
They began watching him in August 2016 after being tipped off to social media accounts in which he described his hatred of the US and how he’d converted to Islam.
He had allegedly agreed to supply weapons and help organize a Presidents’ Day terror attack at bus and train stations across Kansas City.
Hester, who has two young children, told them how he wanted to ‘overthrow’ the US and ‘hit it hard’, the Justice Department said.
Police say that for months he exchanged text messages with agents describing how he wanted to start ‘global jihad’ and put together an attack ’10 times’ as deadly as the Boston marathon bombings.
On one occasion he had one of the agents round to his family home in Columbia, Missouri, where he gave him a bag full of materials to build a bomb, authorities said.
They also showed him rifles in the backs of their cars which they said they were planning to use in the attacks.
He was arrested on Friday afternoon after months of interaction with the undercover agents who said they honed in on him after being alerted to his Facebook posts by an informant.
Under four different Facebook names, he is said to have described his hatred of the US and how it should be ‘overthrown’.
The father-of-two was arrested in October for throwing a knife through a store window during a rage-fueled fight with his wife.
During the incident, he reached for a 9mm gun he was carrying in one of his children’s diaper bags. He spent ten days in custody for the incident but was released on bond and told to wear an electric ankle tag.
Agents say the former soldier, who spent a year in the armed services before being discharged without incident in 2013, had already added the FBI agent on Facebook.
When he was released from jail, the pair began communicating over the site’s messaging service and in encrypted text messages.
‘Hester presented himself as a security threat, stating, for example, that the U.S. government should be “overthrown,” and suggesting “hitting” the government “hard,” while noting that it would not be “a one man job,”‘ a Justice Department release about his arrest said.
‘Hester identified categories of potential targets for attack and said he wanted a “global jihad.” Hester stated that he was trying to find like-minded people to help. When the undercover employee mentioned “brothers,” Hester said he wanted to meet them.’