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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Monday, July 23, 2018

Algerian Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring with Pennsylvania Woman and Others to Provide Material Support to Terrorists

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, and Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office William F. Sweeney Jr. announced that an Algerian man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists.  United States District Judge Petrese B. Tucker presided over the proceeding. 

Ali Charaf Damache, 53, also known as Theblackflag, 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.  United States authorities extradited Damache from Spain in 2017. 

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, a/k/a Fatima LaRose, a/k/a Jihad Jane, 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, as Damache is a citizen of both countries.

“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 William M. 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.”

This case was investigated by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York and the FBI Field Divisions in Philadelphia, 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. 


Updated October 30, 2018