FBI investigators found two hand-painted Islamic State flags at the apartment of Xavier Pelkey, 19, of Waterville, after arresting him in February 2022 for his connection to a planned attack on a Chicago mosque. Court documents indicate Pelkey had homemade explosive devices that investigators believe he planned to use in an attack on the Shia mosque. Pelkey pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Bangor to a charge of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Taken from court documents

BANGOR — A Waterville man pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to conspiring with terrorists to conduct a mass shooting at a mosque in the Chicago area, federal prosecutors announced.

Nineteen-year-old Xavier Pelkey entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Bangor and now faces up to 15 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release, prosecutors said in a news release. Pelkey pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

He had agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in March and the 15-year sentence was part of that agreement. A sentencing date has not been set.

Pelkey conspired with two minors, one in Chicago and another in Canada, in November 2021 to unleash a mass shooting on the Shia mosque, prosecutors have said in court records.

The three were adherents of a radical form of Sunni Islam and supporters of the terrorist organization Islamic State, also known as ISIS, the release said. The three formulated plans over Instagram.

Pelkey intended to contribute firearms, ammunition and explosives to be used in the mosque attack, authorities said. The attackers intended to separate children from adults at the mosque and then kill the adults, according to an FBI affidavit filed in court last year. If they weren’t apprehended at the mosque then their plan was to travel to another mosque or a Jewish synagogue to continue the attack, the affidavit said.

The FBI in February 2022 executed a search warrant at Pelkey’s apartment on Front Street in Waterville and discovered three handmade explosive devices. Agents found painted Islamic State flags and recovered written statements to be released prior to the mosque shooting claiming the attack in the name of the terrorist group, prosecutors said in the release.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the country’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, said in a statement at the time that hate crime charges should be filed against Pelkey.

“This disturbing case highlights the real threat posed by anti-Muslim bigotry, antisemitism and other forms of hate,” Edward Ahmed Mitchell, the organization’s deputy director, said in the statement.

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