Massachusetts Man Convicted of Supporting ISIS and Conspiring to Murder U.S. Citizens
David Daoud Wright, aka Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, aka Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, 28, of Everett, Massachusetts, was convicted of conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization; conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries; conspiracy to obstruct justice; and obstruction of justice.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente, Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb for the District of Massachusetts and Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Harold H. Shaw of the FBI’s Boston Field Division made the announcement today.
“Mr. Wright conspired to provide material support to ISIS and plotted to kill innocent civilians on U.S. soil and to wage violence against our government on behalf of the foreign terrorist organization,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Boente. “Mr. Wright will now be held accountable for his crimes. The National Security Division’s highest priority is counterterrorism, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to disrupt potential attacks in the United States and to hold accountable those who seek to provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations. I want to thank the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who are responsible for this result.”
“Mr. Wright intended to wage war against the United States on behalf of ISIS,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Weinreb. “Despite the fact that he was born and raised in Massachusetts, Mr. Wright swore allegiance to ISIS, a foreign terrorist organization, and plotted attacks that he hoped would cause more harm than the Boston Marathon Bombings. Today’s conviction ensures that Mr. Wright will never again endanger the lives of innocent Americans or recruit others on behalf of a violent enemy of this country. I commend the efforts of the law enforcement officers who investigated and halted Mr. Wright’s plans and the prosecutors who brought the case to a successful conclusion.”
“Today's verdict is a victory for America in its fight against terror. It reflects the true gravity of Mr. Wright's crimes, betraying his country, conspiring to support a terrorist organization dedicated to the murder of innocent people, and obstructing an investigation,” said SAC Shaw. “Mr. Wright was a soldier of ISIS right here in Massachusetts and his plan to carry out terror attacks was a very real threat. This case is a testament to the tireless efforts of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The close coordination between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, combined with trusted international partnerships, led to the disruption of this plot. Every day, the Joint Terrorism Task Force strives for a perfect record, and we'd like to thank all of our partners for their dedication and hard work they put in to bring this case to its successful conclusion."
In April 2016, Wright and co-defendant Nicholas Alexander Rovinski were indicted on charges that they conspired with each other and Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, 26, Wright’s uncle, to provide material support to ISIS and commit acts of terrorism. In September 2016, Rovinski pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to ISIS and conspiring to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries.
Beginning in at least February 2015, Wright began discussing ISIS’ call to kill non-believers in the United States with Rahim and Rovinski. They began plotting and recruiting members for their “martyrdom” operation. In March 2015, Wright drafted organizational documents for a “Martyrdom Operations Cell” and conducted internet search queries about firearms, the effectiveness of tranquilizers on human subjects and the establishment of secret militias in the United States. Simultaneously, Rahim was communicating with an ISIS member overseas, Junaid Hussain. In August 2015, Hussain was killed in an airstrike in Raqqah, Syria.
Beginning in or about May 2015, Hussain communicated directly with Rahim. Rahim in turn communicated Hussain’s instructions to Wright, with regard to the murder of an individual residing in New York. Wright, Rovinski and Rahim conspired to commit attacks and kill persons inside the United States on behalf of ISIS. In preparation for their attack, Rovinski conducted research on weapons that could be used to behead their victims. While detained pending trial, Rovinski sought to continue their planned attacks and wrote letters to Wright from prison discussing ways to take down the U.S. government and decapitate non-believers.
On June 2, 2015, Rahim was shot and killed after he attacked law enforcement officers in a Roslindale, Massachusetts, parking lot. Within minutes of learning this from a family member, Wright deleted data from his laptop computer by restoring it to factory settings and deleting call logs on his cellphone that showed he had spoken to Rahim that morning.
The charge of conspiracy to provide material support carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a lifetime term of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of obstruction of justice carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The charge of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, a lifetime term of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. The sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court after considering the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This investigation was conducted by the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF); the Boston Police Department; Massachusetts State Police; Everett Police Department; and Customs and Border Protection.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney B. Stephanie Siegmann of the District of Massachusetts’s National Security Unit and Trial Attorney Gregory R. Gonzalez of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.