Mahoning County Man Pleads Guilty to Using a Firearm to Threaten a Jewish Community Center in Youngstown
Amir Said Rahman Al-Ghazi, 41, aka Robert C. McCollum, of Sheffield Lake, Ohio, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for one count of providing material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization, as well as two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman for the Northern District of Ohio, and Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony of the FBI’s Cleveland Division made the announcement.
“The National Security Division is committed to identifying and prosecuting those who seek to provide material support to terrorist groups like ISIS.” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “I want to thank the prosecutors and our partners in law enforcement—including the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force—who ensured that this defendant was held accountable for his crimes.”
“This case is a stark reminder that ISIS is more than an abstract threat,” said U.S Attorney Herdman. “Through social media and other means, ISIS and groups like it seek to radicalize people of all backgrounds into its world of violence.”
“This case demonstrates law enforcement’s number one priority – to keep our communities and our nation safe,” said Special Agent in Charge Anthony. “It is clear that no area is immune from the influence of ISIS and its supporters. We hope this case will serve as a strong message to others who may consider providing support to terrorists. The FBI and our Joint Terrorism Task Force partners are committed to identifying and stopping these individuals.”
Al-Ghazi, who changed his name from Robert McCollum last year, pledged his support to ISIS and Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi via social media in 2014. From July 2014 to June 2015, Al-Ghazi made multiple statements trying to persuade others to join ISIS. He also expressed his own desire to perpetrate an attack on the United States and had attempted to purchase an AK-47 assault rifle. Al-Ghazi has communicated with individuals he believed to be members of ISIS in the Middle East and took steps to create propaganda videos for ISIS, according to court documents.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew W. Shepherd of the Northern District of Ohio, with assistance from Trial Attorney Erin Creegan of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.