New York City man who made false statements involving terrorism sentenced 57 months in prison
MISSOULA—A New York City man who admitted lying to federal agents about wanting to fight for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham or “ISIS” and to conduct an attack in the United States was sentenced today to 57 months in prison and three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Fabjan Alameti, 21, from the Bronx, in New York City, NY, pleaded guilty in August to two counts of false statements to a federal officer in a matter involving terrorism.
Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.
“Because of the vigilance of the FBI, and the good work and coordination among the FBI, our Anti-Terrorism Unit, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Counterterrorism Section, the people of Montana were never in any real danger. Stopping acts of terrorism is the top priority of the DOJ, and we will prosecute all who would commit them to the full extent of the law,” U.S. Attorney Alme said.
“This case highlights the real threat posed by homegrown violent extremists, people who self-radicalize at home and are prone to attack with little to no warning,” said Special Agent in Charge Paul Haertel, of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office. “Preventing terrorist attacks is the FBI’s number one priority and the mission of our Joint Terrorism Task Forces. We will use every investigative tool available to us and continue to work with our law enforcement partners to identify, assess and disrupt threats to keep our communities safe."
Prosecution documents filed in the case said Alameti had been part of a terrorism investigation by the FBI in 2018. Alameti became an ISIS supporter, watching ISIS videos online and making pro-ISIS posts on a Facebook account. The FBI questioned him about his fascination with ISIS, and Alameti denied any affiliation or support for the designated foreign terrorist organization. The investigation also involved an FBI confidential source who Alameti encountered while posting messages on a pro-ISIS social media page. Alameti believed the confidential source was an ISIS supporter who lived in the Middle East.
In March, Alameti boarded a bus and traveled from New York to Bozeman, where he agreed to speak with an FBI agent. During that interview, Alameti said he had never talked about traveling overseas to fight for ISIS and that he had never wanted to hurt any Americans or anyone in the military.
However, Alameti had used a Facebook account and communicated with others that he wanted to travel overseas and fight for ISIS because he wanted to die a martyr’s death. Alameti also communicated with others about targeting people in the United States and identified targets as gay night clubs, a federal building and an Army recruiting center. Alameti admitted making statements to an individual that he wanted to “shoot people or something,” “I will attack random people to avenge the blood,” and “I’m going to Montana and gonna (sic) buy a gun since all they need is a background check and ID.”
Agents ultimately arrested Alameti in April at a Bozeman shooting range where he attempted to rent a semi-automatic rifle. The FBI arrested him on charges of possessing a firearm as an unlawful user of a controlled substance.
The prosecution also presented evidence at sentencing that while in custody at the Crossroads Correctional Center in Shelby, Mt., Alameti is suspected asking another inmate in October about getting guns and explosives. During a facility-wide sweep of inmate housing units in November, officers found a razor blade tucked between pages in a book found in Alameti’s cell and pro-ISIS and anti-United States messages written on Alameti’s cell wall.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Starnes and Trial Attorney Rebecca Magnone, from the Counterterrorism Section of U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division, prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI.