Gregory Lepsky of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, appeared in a federal courtroom on Friday to face terrorism charges that he allegedly planned to construct and use a “pressure cooker bomb” in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization. The 20-year-old Lepsky is officially charged by criminal complaint with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS.
The pressure cooker bomb was first used by terrorists in the United States during the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013. The two explosions killed three people and injured several hundred others, including 16 people who lost limbs.
According to the criminal complaint: On Feb. 21, 2017, the Point Pleasant (N.J.) Police Department arrested Lepsky in connection with an incident in his family’s house. Point Pleasant is considered a vacation spot on the famed Jersey Shore.
Following his arrest, law enforcement officers conducted a search of the family residence and found a new pressure cooker stored behind a roll of bubble wrap in the suspect’s bedroom closet.
During the search and examination of personal computers and other digital evidence linked to Lepsky, police detectives discovered Lepsky’s alleged plot to build and detonate an improvised explosive device (IED) as part of his support for ISIS.
Using the Internet’s social media communications, Lepsky allegedly boasted to others that he intended to fight for ISIS, and that he would, if necessary, become a martyr for Allah by driving a “bunch of explosives” to where “enemies” assembled and would blow himself up in their midst.
“Law enforcement officers also located a series of instructions that had been published online by another terrorist group that gave specific, step-by-step instructions on how to build a pressure cooker bomb, which coincided with the delivery to Lepsky of the pressure cooker a short time before his arrest. In addition, law enforcement recovered a message forwarded by Lepsky from another ISIS supporter stating that if a westerner could not travel to Syria to fight for ISIS, he could conduct a terrorist attack in his home country using improvised explosive devices” according to a Department of Justice statement on Friday.
The material support charge carries a maximum potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Point Pleasant is 12 miles north of Seaside Park, where a pipe bomb exploded before the start of a charity military run last year. Ahmad Khan Rahimi, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, faces charges that he set off that bomb and planted two bombs in Manhattan that injured more than 30 people. He was arrested by police after an exchange of gunfire in Linden, New Jersey.
Details in the recently unsealed court documents in the case of an accused Tucson terrorist are providing insight to the level of damage he was allegedly hoping to cause. See video below: