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Press Release

Massachusetts Man Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison for Supporting ISIS and Conspiring to Murder U.S. Citizens

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Defendant and others conspired to behead Americans and kill police

An Everett man was sentenced today to 28 years in prison for conspiring with others to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and kill persons in the United States. 

David Daoud Wright, a/k/a Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, a/k/a Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, 28, of Everett, Mass., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young to 28 years in prison.  In October 2017, Wright was convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and obstruction of justice.

“David Wright conspired with others to commit violent attacks here in the United States at the direction of ISIS,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Boente.  “This successful prosecution demonstrates that the Department of Justice will not waver in its commitment to bring justice to those who provide support and encourage violence on behalf of ruthless terrorist organizations.”

“Mr. Wright plotted to kill innocent Americans on behalf of ISIS,” said Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb.  “Despite the fact that he was born in Massachusetts, Mr. Wright turned against his country and joined a radical terrorist organization. He became a soldier of ISIS and recruited U.S. citizens to commit attacks within the United States aimed at killing civilians and police officers.  Today’s sentence affirms our commitment to protecting the public and prosecuting those who pledge alliance to our enemies.” 
“Today's sentencing of David Wright finally holds him accountable for betraying his country, obstructing justice, and conspiring to support a brutally violent terrorist organization,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Field Division. “The spread of the ISIS ideology and it’s savagery against innocents around the world, was found right here at home, by an extremely unpredictable and dangerous person who radicalized to support an imprudent call to jihad. Through the dogged efforts of the FBI and our partners within the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Joint Terrorism Task Forces, who tirelessly work day-in and day-out to identify and thwart those who pose a serious threat, we clearly showed Mr. Wright was a soldier of ISIS, and a very real threat to national security and public safety.  This case truly highlights the importance of law enforcement collaboration here and around the world, and I'm grateful for the dedication of those committed to keeping the Commonwealth safe.” 

Beginning in at least February 2015, Wright began discussing ISIS’ call to kill non-believers in the United States with his uncle, Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, and co-defendant Nicholas Alexander Rovinski. Specifically, Wright created a “martyrdom” operation cell in Massachusetts.  In April 2015, he created a Twitter page for the “Lions of America” and published a document entitled, Internal Conquest, on the internet in which Wright called on the “Lions of Allah” to kill Americans. 

Wright also plotted with Rahim and Rovinski to behead U.S. citizens at the direction of ISIS, and identified a New York woman as the first beheading target. Rahim purchased three knives for this plot.  In addition, Wright knew Rahim was communicating with an ISIS member in Syria, Junaid Hussain, who provided Rahim with an encrypted document containing details about the intended victim. In August 2015, Hussain was killed in an airstrike in Raqqah, Syria.

In preparation for their attack, Wright conducted extensive research on weapons, knives, machetes, bombing making components, and methods to subdue their victims. Wright also conducted research on “how to start a secret militia in the United States.”   

On June 2, 2015, Rahim was shot and killed after he attacked law enforcement officers in a Roslindale, Mass., parking lot. Two hours before Rahim attacked the police, Wright had encouraged and motivated Rahim to pursue martyrdom by attacking the “boys in blue.”  Within minutes of learning of his Uncle’s death from a family member, Wright deleted data from his laptop computer by restoring it to factory settings and deleted call logs on his cellphone that showed that he had spoken to Rahim that morning.

In September 2016, Rovinski pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to ISIS and conspiring to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, and will be sentenced tomorrow. 

Acting U.S. Attorney Weinreb, Acting AAG Boente and FBI SAC Shaw made the announcement today. This investigation was conducted by the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF); Boston Police Department; Massachusetts State Police; Everett Police Department; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. The Suffolk District Attorney’s Office; Rhode Island State Police; Warwick, R.I. Police Department; and police in the United Kingdom also provided valuable assistance. The case was 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.

Updated December 20, 2017

Press Release Number: 17-1451