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Press Release

Suffolk Man Charged with Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIL

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

NORFOLK, Va. – Lionel Nelson Williams, 26, of Suffolk, was charged today with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Williams was arrested yesterday in Suffolk and will have his detention and preliminary hearings on Tuesday morning at the federal courthouse in Norfolk.

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, in October and November 2016, Williams sent money to a person he believed was collecting money for ISIL to purchase weapons and ammunition for ISIL fighters.  Williams also posted content on social media indicating his support for ISIL and attacks targeting police officers, military, and armed civilians, according to the complaint affidavit.  In addition, the investigation revealed that Williams ordered an AK-47 assault rifle the day after the terror attack in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015, and two firearms, including an AK-47 and a semi-automatic handgun, were recovered in a post-arrest search of Williams’ residence. 

Williams faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if convicted. 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; Mary B. McCord, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security; and Martin W. Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph E. DePadilla and Andrew C. Bosse and Trial Attorney Alicia Cook of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case.

This case was investigated by the Norfolk Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Suffolk Police Department.

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. 2:16-mj-524.

Updated December 22, 2016

National Security