THE TT born US citizen who was arrested in connection with an ISIS-inspired terror plot is “obviously a matter for the US authorities” according to National Security Minister Stuart Young.
Young in text message response to Newsday added that he was sure “that they will deal with this US citizen as appropriate.” The man, Rondell Henry, was born in TT, according to US reports. Henry, who lived in Maryland, US was arrested two days after he suddenly quit his job as a computer engineer and began making steps to actualise his plan of mowing down as many people as possible in a tourist destination.
US authorities said they found a U-Haul which the 28-year-old allegedly stole at National Harbour in Washington. Law enforcement reviewed video surveillance of the area that showed Henry parking and subsequently exiting the stolen U-Haul. Henry was arrested on March 28, one day after he allegedly stole the truck.
He reportedly told investigators that he hated non-Muslims and that was the motive behind his planned attack. Henry hoped to gain more notoriety than Mohammed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, who on July 14, 2016, took a 19-tonne cargo truck and ploughed through a crowd in France killing 86 and injuring several others. Henry, US authorities said, was on a suicide mission as his plan was not to be arrested.
Henry was radicalised by online ISIS videos he began watching two years ago, US authorities claimed, according to several US media outlets. Henry was not well versed in guns and explosives and opted to mow down his victims.
TT has one of the highest per capita ISIS recruitment in the world. Shane Crawford, this country’s most talked about ISIS member, is one of some 150 locals who left the country to join the terrorist group and was killed following a US-led air strike in Syria two years ago. Crawford’s assets were also seized through new legislation which allows the State to seize the assets of any national deemed a terrorist.
Henry drove around Washington suburbs the day before he was arrested looking for places he could run down crowds of people. It is believed that he would have committed the act on the day he was held as he finally decided on where his attack would be. The only reason he did not do it sooner, investigators claim, was there was not enough people to maim and murder. He was arrested there after officers waited for him to return to the vehicle after parking and leaving. Henry, according to a USA Today article, is charged only with transporting the stolen U-Haul into Maryland. Court documents filed yesterday show a different story. Authorities say Henry left his job in Germantown, Maryland, on April 2 and drove around Washington looking for the vehicle large enough to inflict the most damage. He found the U-Haul van in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of Washington, followed it to its storage location, and stole it.
Henry, according to the article, told investigators that he wanted to create “panic and chaos,” and wanted to garner as much media attention as possible. One of the places he settled for was Dulles International Airport, where he arrived last Wednesday. There were no crowds at the airport then, so Henry, authorities said, got out of the van and tried to get through airport security. He was unsuccessful. He went back to the van and drove more than 30 miles to the National Harbour in Maryland, where he waited for a larger crowd. Henry broke into a nearby boat and stayed there overnight, court records say. The following morning, police found the stolen U-Haul and were waiting for Henry. Police traced him through his car, a blue BMW he left at the same parking garage where he stole the van. He is scheduled for a detention hearing on Thursday.
Just last year, two TT men were sanctioned by the US Treasury Department for suspicion of financing ISIS. Emraan Ali, 51, a Syria-based TT-US dual citizen and Eddie Aleong, 34, also known as Ishmael Mohammed, Ishmail Muhammed and Ismail’il Ali, were sanctioned under executive order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. Aleong, from Enterprise, was among those held under suspicion for the Carnival terror plot last year.
The US Treasury Department designated the men as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) financiers. Ali is married to a granddaughter of Nizam Mohammed, the imam of Boos Village Jamaat Mosque in Tabaquite.