A Phoenix man who was arrested on terrorism-related charges after federal authorities found hundreds of incriminating Web searches last year was released from jail this week as he awaits trial.
Derrick Thompson, 30, was released from the Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix Monday afternoon after posting a $75,000 bond. Thompson was arrested in December 2016 after investigators with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force discovered two years’ worth of suspicious online searches for weapons and comments made in support of ISIS, court records state.
A Maricopa County Superior Court grand jury indicted Thompson on charges that included participating in a criminal syndicate, assisting a criminal syndicate and attempted misconduct involving weapons.
Maricopa County Superior Court records state Thompson is an “avowed jihadist” who sought to partake in a “lone wolf”-type attack in Arizona encouraged by ISIS leaders for followers in western nations.
From 2014 to late 2016, he was apparently attempting to obtain firearms despite a previous felony conviction which prevented him from possessing a gun.
Agents tracked down the seller of a handgun with whom Thompson had corresponded online. Court records state someone using Thompson’s Google account in January 2016 contacted the seller about acquiring the weapon.
“I would love to get the CW9 from you but won’t be in Phx again for a month or so wondering if you have other firearms if so I will definitely be in touch.” The seller responded, “No, that’s it,” and told investigators he sold his firearm to a short white man.
The FBI said there were no indications that Thompson was associated with any threats made in the country. Court documents said that as recently as October 2016, Thompson’s Google account was also used to search for information on martyrdom, “fatwa on killing civilians” and a search for the deadliest handguns, court records say.
“Right, we need to get down with this ISIS (expletive),” a post from his Google account allegedly stated that same month, according to court records.
Thompson previously pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and armed-robbery charges in 2005. He served more than seven years in the Arizona Department of Corrections and was subsequently released in January 2013.
Following his most recent arrest, Thompson was held on a $100,000 bond in a Maricopa County jail. Prosecutors argued Thompson posed a substantial risk to the community who posed a flight risk due to the seriousness of a potential 35-year prison sentence.
His bond amount changed this month when the amount was lowered to $75,000. He successfully posted bond and was released on electronic monitoring. A bench warrant will be issued for his arrest if he fails to attend any future court hearings, court records state.
Thompson’s next court date will be next month.
Arizona Republic reporter Megan Cassidy contributed to this article.
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