Massachusetts Man Charged with Conspiring to Obstruct National Security Investigation
This afternoon a federal conspiracy charge was filed against David Wright, aka Dawud Sharif Wright, aka Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, 24, of Everett, Massachusetts, who has been associated with a plot to kill an unnamed target in another state. Wright was arrested last night by federal authorities and had an initial appearance today in U.S. District Court in Boston. His detention hearing is scheduled for June 19, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.
Wright is charged in a one count complaint which alleges that he conspired with now-deceased Ussamah Abdullah Rahim, 26, to obstruct a federal investigation by destroying electronic evidence on Rahim’s smartphone. Rahim was shot and killed yesterday morning after he attacked Boston Police Officers and FBI agents seeking to question him.
As alleged in the complaint affidavit, Rahim, a private security officer, was planning to engage in a violent attack in the United States, and had purchased three military-style fighting knives and a sharpener in furtherance of this plan. In intercepted calls between Wright and Rahim, the men discussed a knife attack on an unnamed individual, and suggested that the target was to be beheaded and have his/her head placed on his/her chest. According to the complaint, such beheadings are a tactic of some foreign terrorist organizations which use such killings in propaganda videos.
The affidavit also alleges that Wright and Rahim met with a third person on a beach in Rhode Island on May 31, 2015, to discuss the planned beheading.
At approximately 5:00 a.m. on June 2, 2015, law enforcement intercepted a call between Wright and Rahim, in which Rahim insisted that he could no longer wait to take action. Instead of carrying on with his plan to behead the planned out-of-state target, Rahim declared that he was going to, “go after” the “boys in blue,” here in Massachusetts, because, “it’s the easiest target.” Rather than discourage Rahim, Wright supported the plan, telling Rahim to prepare his will and to leave his possessions to a named individual. After discussing Rahim’s plan to attack police officers in Massachusetts, Wright advised Rahim to destroy his phone and all of the evidence it contained to prevent “CSI” at “the scene” from obtaining incriminating information.
According to the complaint affidavit, on June 2, 2015, law enforcement officers met with Wright after Rahim attacked officers in Boston and was shot. Wright told officers of a recent rendezvous with Rahim on a beach in Rhode Island, and of Rahim’s intention to behead a specified individual in another state. Wright indicated he agreed with Rahim’s plan and supported it.
The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Boston Field Division, Boston Police Department, Massachusetts State Police, and member agencies of the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Marshals Service and others. In addition, the Everett Police Department played a critical role in the response.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Massachusetts in coordination with the Justice Department’s National Security Division.