FBI arrests Williams on suspicion of joining Daesh

By Monitoring Desk
Wednesday – June 2, 2021
WASHINGTON (United States): A Seattle man was arrested on Friday, May 28, at Seattle-Tacoma international airport on criminal charges related to his alleged efforts to join Daesh, a designated foreign terrorist organisation, in order to engage in violent acts of terrorism in the Middle East or the United States (US).

According to a press release, as per the court documents, Elvin Hunter Bgorn Williams, 20, of Seattle, was arrested as he prepared to board an international flight following a lengthy investigation into his efforts to join Daesh.

“As alleged, Williams was determined to support Daesh either by traveling overseas to join and fight with the terrorist organisation, or by conducting an attack here in the US,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division (NSD).

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was just as determined to stop him, and he was intercepted as he tried to make his way abroad. The threat of terrorism at home and abroad remains, and the NSD is committed to holding accountable those who will provide material support to foreign terrorist organisations. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this case.”

“This defendant proved persistent in his efforts to join Daesh – speaking with enthusiasm about acts of horrific bloodshed in the Middle East and here at home,” said Acting US Attorney Tessa M. Gorman for the Western District of Washington.

“I want to commend those citizens who contacted law enforcement — including his family and faith community — expressing concerns about the defendant’s radicalisation. Their courage to speak up and work with law enforcement was important to ensure public safety.”

“This individual self-radicalised, pledged loyalty to Daesh, and became consumed with activities to join the cause overseas,” said Special Agent in Charge Donald M. Voiret of the FBI Seattle Field Office.

“We are grateful for the concerned citizens and family members who reported his behaviour on multiple occasions and all of the law enforcement agencies who worked tirelessly on this case. These combined efforts no doubt saved lives.”

In November 2020, a member of a Seattle-area mosque contacted the FBI with concerns about Williams.

The mosque had attempted to provide support and guidance to Williams, but members became aware he was deeply involved in Daesh propaganda.

Williams was using mosque-provided electronic devices to engage in online chats with Daesh radicals and to view Daesh propaganda videos of beheadings and other acts of violence.

In November 2020, Williams allegedly swore an oath of allegiance to Daesh.

Using confidential sources close to Williams, the FBI monitored his activity and became aware of his efforts to travel to the Middle East and join Daesh.

Williams expressed to his associates that if he could not travel overseas, he will commit an attack in the US on behalf of Daesh.

Williams began communicating with those he believed were Daesh recruiters who could get him to a Daesh terror cell in the Middle East or other parts of the world.

In early May 2021, Williams booked airline travel from Seattle to Amsterdam and on to Egypt to join Daesh.

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 is charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Seattle with assistance from the King County Sheriff’s Office; US Customs and Border Protection; Homeland Security Investigations; Federal Air Marshals; US Citizenship and Immigration Services; US Marshals Service; US Postal Inspection Service; Transportation Security Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Naval Criminal Investigative Service; Seattle Police Department; Bellevue Police Department; and Port of Seattle Police Department.

Assistant US Attorney Todd Greenberg of the Western District of Washington’s Violent Crimes and Terrorism Unit, and Trial Attorney Andrew Sigler of the NSD’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case.

A complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.