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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rowan County Man Sentenced For Attempting To Aid International Terrorist Organization

GREENSBORO, N.C. - U.S. Attorney Ripley Rand of the Middle District of North Carolina, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, and Special Agent in Charge John Strong of the FBI’s Charlotte, North Carolina, Division announced today that Donald Ray Morgan of Rowan County, North Carolina, was sentenced to 243 months in federal prison, 3 years supervised release and a $200.00 special assessment for attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and possession of firearm by a felon.

Donald Ray Morgan, age 44, of Rowan County was sentenced this morning by United States District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder. On October 30, 2014, MORGAN pleaded guilty to attempted provision of material support to a foreign terrorist organization and possession of firearm by a felon.

According to court documents, Morgan knowingly attempted beginning in or about January 2014 until on or about August 2, 2014, to provide support and resources, including his own services, to the designated foreign terrorist organization al-Qa’ida in Iraq, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (“ISIL”) and the Islamic State of Iraq an al-Sham (“ISIS”). On at least one occasion Morgan unsuccessfully attempted to travel from Lebanon to Syria to join ISIL/ISIS. Morgan also frequently used social media and an interview with an international journalist to express his support for the ISIL/ISIS and violent terrorist activities.

Court documents also reveal that Morgan possessed and later sold an assault rifle in January 2012 after having been convicted of a North Carolina state felony offense in 1997.

Morgan was initially arrested on August 2, 2014, at JFK International Airport in New York, New York, on a federal indictment for possession of a firearm by a felon, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2).

U.S. Attorney Rand commended the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Greensboro Resident Agency Joint Terrorism Task Force (Greensboro Police Department, Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, High Point Police Department, and the Winston-Salem Police Department), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the United States Marshals Service, and United States Customs and Border Protection in bringing MORGAN to justice. Rand added, “We will continue to do everything we can to shine a light on the false allure of violent extremism and protect innocent people from terrorist activity, whether inside or outside the United States.”

“Morgan attempted to travel to Syria in order to provide material support to ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “The sentence in this case demonstrates that we will continue to bring to justice those who engage in this conduct, and that protecting the nation against these threats remains one of our highest priorities.”

"Donald Ray Morgan proved himself to be a threat to national security.  He traveled overseas with intentions to join the violent terrorist group, ISIL in Syria.  One of the FBI’s highest priorities is to stop American citizens who support terrorist organizations and ensure they are held accountable for their actions,” said John Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Charlotte Division, the Greensboro Resident Agency Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The Greensboro JTTF includes the following agencies: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Greensboro Police Department, Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, High Point Police Department, and the Winston-Salem Police Department. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Graham Green with the assistance of Trial Attorney Paul Casey of the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

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Updated May 13, 2015