American man sentenced to prison for trying to join ISIS, Justice Dept. says
SEATTLE (KPTV/Gray News) - A 22-year-old Seattle resident who attempted to join an Islamic State group has been given a four-year jail sentence, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Elvin Hunter Bgorn Williams, who was sentenced on Tuesday, was reportedly apprehended in 2021 “following a lengthy investigation.”
According to the press announcement, Williams started telling his loved ones that he was an ISIS member in 2020. Additionally, KPTV reports he posted a video of himself on social media pledging his devotion to an ISIS leader.
“Mr. Williams persisted in his plans to join a terrorist organization and commit acts of violence, despite intervention from his family, his school, members of his mosque, and from the FBI,” U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a news release.
The FBI followed Williams’ online behavior and discovered he was in contact with individuals thought to be ISIS officials.
“Indeed, he repeatedly stated his intention to commit an act of terror here at home if he could not travel overseas,” Brown said. “Mr. Williams continues to pose a risk to the community. It will be critically important that he be closely supervised after he is released from prison.”
Similar comments were expressed by Richard A. Collodi, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office.
“Mr. Williams proved by his actions he was willing to join the Islamic State in hopes of furthering their ideology through violence,” Collodi said. “He took concrete steps to fund his activities, procure equipment, and travel to the Middle East. I am grateful for how law enforcement was able to step in and stop him before he actually was able to achieve his goal.”
According to the release, Williams “sought martyrdom, had ‘no problem with killing,’ and planned to be engaged in beheading people,” according to a plea deal.
“In May 2021, Williams obtained a passport and pawned a laptop computer to raise funds for his travel,” according to the release. “In early May 2021, Williams booked an airline ticket from Seattle to Amsterdam and on to Egypt to join ISIS. On Friday, May 28, 2021, he went to Sea-Tac Airport to catch the first leg of his international flight. Williams was arrested at the departure gate.”
Williams was given 15 years of supervised release following his sentencing, according to the press statement.
U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said Williams’ “mental health and history of mental health difficulties” were factors in the sentencing.
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