On Wednesday, Virginia resident Lionel Williams, 27, of Suffolk pleaded guilty to terrorism charges for his efforts to provide material support to the Islamic State, according to a report from the Department of Justice. In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, it is reported Williams attempted to send money on two separate occasions to an individual he believed was an ISIS financier.
The “financier” was actually an undercover FBI employee who told Williams his donation had assisted purchasing a rocket-propelled grenade. In response to this revelation, Williams responded in a message, “Praise be to Allah, and Allah is the Greatest.”
Williams purchased an AK-27 assault rifle on Dec. 3, 2015, following the San Bernardino terrorist attack, though his interest in ISIS stems back to 2014, according to court documents. Additionally, Williams’ social media accounts were riddled with clear support for ISIS and terroristic ideology.
In March 2016, he posted his support for ISIS and expressed his desire for ISIS to overrun the U.S. Furthermore, he said he would decapitate law enforcement agents that might be spying on him.
In 2016, Williams shared plans of a martyrdom operation with a woman outside the U.S., inquiring more information about specific types of AK-47 ammunition from an FBI confidential source. He told the FBI employee that the needed information was for a “local” operation.
Williams was arrested after this incident and subsequently charged for his actions. He told agents he supported and advocated for ISIS, and said he was deeply involved with a “holy war” after he was arrested. Williams now faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison. His sentencing is set for Dec. 20.
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