Washington-A New Jersey teen has pleaded guilty to participating in a plot to try to kill Pope Francis in 2015 during a public Mass in Philadelphia, according to a statement by federal prosecutors.
Santos Colon, 17, admitted on Monday in a federal court in Camden, New Jersey that he sought to recruit a sniper to shoot the pope as well as set off explosive devices in surrounding areas in Philadelphia on September 27, 2015, at the end of the World Meeting of Families, according to Philadelphia Inquirer Newspaper.
However, Colon unwittingly recruited an undercover FBI agent for the job, and was arrested quietly 12 days before the event.
Colon, who was charged as an adult in federal court, admitted that he planned the assassination with the source in the weeks leading up to the Pope’s visit.
He also instructed the source to buy materials to build the explosives, court documents showed.
Colon pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to terrorists. Federal prosecutors have yet to identify a motive.
A US citizen from Lindenwold, New Jersey, Colon was charged as an adult on Monday with one count of attempting to provide material support to terrorists.
He adopted the name “Ahmad Shakoor,” claimed to be inspired by ISIS and got bomb-making instructions from the internet before his 2015 arrest.
He faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the amount of any financial gain or loss from the offense, prosecutors said. No date has been set for sentencing and the investigation is ongoing.