New Mexico State University is in the national spotlight after news surfaced this week that a Boston man linked to Islamic militants planned to target the NMSU campus.
Alexander Ciccolo, 26, the son of a Boston police captain, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday for plotting to carry out an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack. Court documents released this week show NMSU was one of the targets of Ciccolo’s planned act of terror.
Ciccolo, who never attended NMSU and has no known connection to the university, was arrested in July 2015. Prosecutors say Ciccolo ordered guns from a person who was cooperating with the FBI. He also purchased a pressure cooker, which he reportedly planned to use to make a bomb similar to the ones used in the 2013 Boston Marathon attack.
In response to the news, university officials released the following statement: “The NMSU police department has a close working relationship with the FBI and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that includes sharing of intelligence about all possible threats. This particular case is a few years old, and at this time there is no credible, specific threat against the campus, but anybody who notices anything suspicious should call law enforcement immediately.”
Ciccolo’s lawyers say their client suffered from mental health and substance abuse issues, and that he was incapable of carrying out the planned terrorist attack.