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Press Release

Former Army National Guard Member Arrested for Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIL

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Mohamed Bailor Jalloh, 26, of Sterling, a former member of the Army National Guard, was arrested on July 3 for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  Jalloh will make his initial appearance here today at 2 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson.

According to the complaint, Jalloh is alleged to have attempted to provide services by assisting in the procurement of weapons to be used in what he believed was going to be an attack on U.S. soil committed in the name of ISIL.  In addition, the complaint alleges that Jalloh attempted to provide material support to ISIL by providing money to assist in the facilitation of individuals seeking to join ISIL.

According to court documents and court proceedings, in March 2016, a now-deceased member of ISIL brokered an introduction between Jalloh, 26, of Sterling, Virginia, and an individual in the United States who actually was an FBI confidential human source (CHS).  The ISIL member was actively plotting an attack in the United States and believed the attack would be carried out with the assistance of Jalloh and the CHS.

According to court documents, Jalloh met with the CHS on two occasions in April and May 2016.  During the April meeting, Jalloh told the CHS that he was a former member of the Virginia Army National Guard, but that he had decided to quit after listening to online lectures by Anwar al-Aulaqi, a deceased leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  Jalloh stated that he recently had taken a six-month trip to Africa, where he had met with ISIL members in Nigeria and first began communicating online with the ISIL member who later brokered his introduction to the CHS.

During their meeting, Jalloh also told the CHS that he often thought about conducting an attack and that he knew how to shoot guns.  Jalloh praised the gunman who killed five U.S. military members in a terrorist attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in July 2015, and stated that he had been thinking about conducting an attack similar to the November 2009 attack at Ft. Hood, Texas.

During the May 2016 meeting, Jalloh asked the CHS about the timeline for an operation and commented that it was better to plan an operation for the month of Ramadan.  Jalloh also asked if the CHS could assist him in providing a donation to ISIL.  Ultimately, Jalloh provided a prepaid cash transfer of $500 to a contact of the CHS that Jalloh believed was a member of ISIL, but who was in fact an undercover FBI employee.

In June 2016, Jalloh travelled to North Carolina and made multiple unsuccessful attempts to obtain firearms.  On July 2, Jalloh went to a gun dealership in northern Virginia, where he purchased and test-fired a Stag Arms assault rifle.  Unbeknownst to Jalloh, the rifle was rendered inoperable before he left the dealership with the weapon.  Jalloh was arrested the following day and the FBI seized the rifle.

The criminal complaint charges Jalloh with attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIL, a designated foreign terrorist organization.  If convicted, Jalloh faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; John P. Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after Jalloh’s initial appearance.  Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. Gibbs is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Trial Attorney Jolie Zimmerman of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16-mj-296.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Updated July 5, 2016

National Security