PLANO, Texas — An 18-year-old Plano man has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison for plotting a terrorist attack at a Collin County shopping mall, Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis and United States Attorney Joseph D. Brown jointly announced.
Matin Azizi-Yarand pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation of capital murder and terroristic threat Monday in state court before 296th District Court Judge John Roach Jr. Pursuant to a plea agreement reached by prosecutors and the defendant, Roach sentenced Azizi-Yarand to 20 years in prison for the solicitation charge and 10 years in prison for the terroristic threat charge. The sentences will run concurrently.
According to information presented in court, Azizi-Yarand was arrested in May 2018 after an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force discovered he was plotting a mass shooting at the Stonebriar Centre mall in Frisco. Inspired by ISIS, Azizi-Yarand was a high school student in Plano when he began actively soliciting other individuals to assist him in the attack, which he had planned for mid-May 2018. At the time of his arrest, Azizi-Yarand had sent more than $1,400 to an undercover FBI employee for the purchase of weapons and tactical gear, had conducted surveillance on the mall, and had met with undercover federal operatives to plan the attack. The investigation determined that Azizi-Yarand specifically intended to target police officers and civilians at the mall.
The case was filed in state district court in Collin County after federal prosecutors determined that Azizi-Yarand’s age — he was 17 at the time of the offense — limited their ability to prosecute the teen in federal court. Individuals age 17 and above are considered adults under Texas state criminal law, while federal law requires an individual to be 18 to be considered an adult.
“This was a serious, serious threat,” Brown said in a press release. “There is no doubt that Azizi-Yarand would have carried out what he was planning. Federal and state law enforcement in this district are committed to working together to combat terrorist activities in this region. We greatly appreciate all of the law enforcement that moved quickly to prevent what could have been a very bad situation. The FBI and the Plano, Frisco and Richardson police departments, as part of the regional Joint Terrorism Task Force, just did a great job. And the cooperation of the Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis and his office was outstanding and allowed us to make sure the consequence reflected the seriousness of the offense.”
Azizi-Yarand will be eligible for parole after serving 10 years in prison.