SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man recruited to join a domestic terrorist cell that was plotting to attack United States military facilities, "infidels," and Israeli and Jewish targets in the Los Angeles area as part of a "jihad" was sentenced today to more than 12½ years in federal prison.
Gregory Patterson, 24, of Gardena, was sentenced to 151 months in prison by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney. Last month, another man recruited into the terror plot, Levar Washington, 30, was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Patterson and Washington pleaded guilty in December to conspiring to wage war against the United States and a weapons charge. Patterson also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a crime of violence
The man who organized the terror cell – Kevin James, who formed the group he called Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh, or JIS, while in a California state prison – also pleaded guilty last year to the terrorism conspiracy charge and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 9, 2009.
In plea agreements filed in federal court, James, Washington and Patterson admitted that they conspired "to levy war against the government of the United States through terrorism, and to oppose by force the authority of the United States government."
The fourth member of JIS named in an indictment – Hammad Samana – has been found unfit to stand trial and is currently receiving psychiatric care at a federal prison facility.
After forming JIS in 1997 while in state prison, James recruited Washington into the organization in late 2004 while both were prisoners at New Folsom Prison, where James had Washington swear an oath of loyalty and obedience to James and to JIS. After his release from prison several weeks after taking the JIS oath, Washington recruited Patterson and Samana into JIS and had them swear oaths of allegiance and obedience to JIS. After forming this cell, Washington and Patterson conducted about a dozen armed robberies of gas stations to obtain money for the group’s planned attacks in the Los Angeles area.
Samana researched targets and prepared a document called "Modes of Attack." The document listed "LAX and Consulate of Zion," "Military Targets," "Army Recruiting centers throughout the county," "Military base in Manhattan Beach" and "Campsite of Zion."
After Torrance Police Department investigators linked Washington and Patterson to a gas station robbery, various Jihadist documents were found at a South Los Angeles apartment where they lived. In addition to the "Modes of Attack" document, investigators discovered a document titled "Notoriety Moves," which contained a James-authored statement to be given to the media after a deadly attack. The proposed press statement reads, in part, "This incident is the first in a series of incidents to come in a plight to defend and propagate traditional Islam in its purity." The document also warns "sincere Muslims" to avoid a series of targets, including "Those Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of an Israeli state."
The investigation into the terrorist conspiracy was led by the FBI's Long Beach Joint Terrorism Task Force, whose participating agencies include the Los Angeles Police Department; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the Torrance Police Department; the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department; the Long Beach Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Los Angeles Port Police; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and the Redondo Beach Police Department.
Substantial assistance during the investigation was provided by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Bureau of Investigations; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; the California Department of Justice; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations; and the Department of Defense.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office worked collaboratively with the United States Attorney’s Office during the investigation.