Foreign National Sentenced to Over 21 Years for Mailing Ricin to President of the United States in 2020
Ali Charaf Damache, 53, a national of Algeria and citizen of Ireland, aka Theblackflag, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists. Damache was indicted in 2011 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and one count of attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism. U.S. authorities extradited Damache from Spain in July 2017. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 30 before U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker.
The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Office.
“At a time when radical terrorist groups use the Internet to recruit new members and coordinate attacks against innocent people, the National Security Division remains committed to investigating all possible threats to our country aggressively — including those that take place online,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “Through close cooperation with our international law enforcement partners and the dedicated work of our agents and prosecutors, we have brought Damache to justice. This successful outcome has made the United States safer, and I applaud the women and men throughout the law enforcement community who made it happen.”
“Counterterrorism remains my office’s highest priority, and we will continue to prevent, disrupt, and defeat violent extremism at home and abroad,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. The prosecutors and law enforcement agencies who brought Damache to justice in the United States work shoulder-to-shoulder, every day, to do just that. As this case shows, our resolve to dismantle clear and present dangers to our national security is stronger than ever.”
“Damache knowingly and willingly conspired with others to wage a violent jihad overseas, actively supporting the very ideals that allow terrorism to thrive worldwide,” said Assistant Director in Charge Sweeney. “For as long as there are those who commit to carrying out these intolerable acts, the FBI will resolutely continue to address counterterrorism as our number one priority. The JTTF, composed of all of our local and international partners, will continue to remain dedicated to mitigating the terrorist threat, both here and abroad.”
According to the indictment, Damache, his co-defendant Mohammad Hassan Khalid, and others conspired to support, recruit, and coordinate a terrorist cell, consisting of men and women from Europe and the United States, to wage violent jihad in and around Europe. Among those with whom Damache conspired is Colleen R. LaRose, who was a resident of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania at the time of the acts alleged in the indictment. LaRose, aka Fatima LaRose, aka JihadJane, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for her involvement in this conspiracy.
The indictment alleges that Damache, Khalid, LaRose, and others recruited men online to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe and recruited women who had passports and the ability to travel to and around Europe in support of violent jihad.
As part of his guilty plea, Damache has agreed to be sentenced to a 180-month term of imprisonment and has waived his right to appeal his sentence. Damache has further agreed that upon completing his prison sentence, he will be removed from the United States and returned to Ireland or, in the alternative, Algeria.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Philadelphia and the FBI Field Divisions in New York, Denver, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and the IRS. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and authorities in Spain provided substantial assistance. Authorities in Ireland also provided assistance in this matter.
The case is being prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah M. Wolfe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Trial Attorneys Matthew F. Blue and C. Alexandria Bogle of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.