NJ teen admits assassination plot against Pope Francis during Philly visit
LINDENWOLD — A teenager from Camden County has admitted to trying to have Pope Francis assassinated during the pontiff's 2015 visit to Philadelphia.
Santos Colon Jr., a 17-year-old borough resident, pleaded guilty as an adult to a charge of attempting to provide material support to terrorists. Colon also goes by the name Ahmad Shakoor, federal courts records show.
Federal prosecutors say Colon plotted to get a sniper to shoot the pope and set off explosives.
Colon tried to hire a sniper who in fact was an FBI agent. Colon engaged in "target reconnaissance" with an FBI informant, and instructed him to buy bomb-making materials, officials revealed Monday.
Colon was arrested in 2015.
The arrest appears to be the incident referenced by a Texas congressman in 2015. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul told reporters that authorities had “disrupted one particular case” of potential terrorism before the pope's visit.
Colon faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced.
Colon was represented by federal public defender Richard Coughlin, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.