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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 1, 2017

Previously Convicted Felon and ISIS Supporter from Richmond Charged with Firearms Offense

RICHMOND, Va. – A previously convicted felon and alleged supporter of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS”) was arrested yesterday on a charge related to his acquisition of a firearm, three weeks after he was released from state prison.

Casey Charles Spain, 28, of Richmond, was charged by criminal complaint with possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Spain was incarcerated for over seven years after being convicted in 2010 for abduction with intent to defile. He was released from the Virginia Department of Corrections on August 11, 2017.

According to court documents, while incarcerated, Spain became radicalized and adopted extremist Islamic views. He obtained a tattoo on his cheek that reads “Cop Killa,” and a tattoo of the ISIS flag on his back. Two confidential sources of information who had contact with Spain while he was incarcerated separately reported that Spain swore a pledge of loyalty, commonly known as bayat, to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. Spain also allegedly told both individuals that he wanted to travel overseas to engage in jihad on behalf of ISIS, and that if he were not allowed to travel upon his release, he would engage in jihad, to include acts of violence, against targets in the United States.

Given this information, the FBI began conducting intensive surveillance of Spain immediately upon his release from incarceration. This surveillance included making covert contact with Spain through FBI undercover employees (“UCE”) and a confidential human source (“CHS”). According to the complaint affidavit, Spain spoke on multiple occasions to the CHS about his strong desire to both obtain a handgun and travel overseas to engage in actions in support of ISIS. The CHS’s information regarding Spain’s plan was corroborated by several recorded conversations Spain had with still-incarcerated prisoners after his release.

Based upon Spain’s desire to obtain a firearm and the impatience he exhibited with regard to obtaining one, the CHS—as part of a controlled FBI undercover operation—offered to provide Spain with what the CHS described as his own personal weapon. In fact, it was a 9 mm Glock semi-automatic handgun that FBI personnel had rendered inert, for safety reasons.

According to court documents, in the early morning hours of August 31, 2017, as part of the undercover operation, the CHS and an FBI UCE met Spain outside of his Richmond residence. At that meeting, the CHS provided Spain the above-described firearm, and Spain was subsequently arrested by the FBI Richmond SWAT team. Spain initially attempted to flee and escape arrest by running and jumping a nearby fence, but FBI SWAT members pursued Spain on foot and quickly apprehended him. The agents also recovered a cell phone and the gun, which Spain had discarded during the foot-chase.

On August 31, 2017, Spain made his initial appearance in federal court following his arrest on the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. United States Magistrate Judge Roderick C. Young ordered that Spain be held without bond pending a probable cause and detention hearing, which is scheduled for September 6, 2017.

Spain faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if convicted. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. Any sentence would be determined by the court after considering the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Hood of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Raj Parekh of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:17-mj-152.

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.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
National Security
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated September 5, 2017