You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Portland-Area Resident Indicted for Providing Material Support to ISIS

PORTLAND, Ore. – Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon and Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Portland Field Office, announced today that a federal grand jury in Portland returned an 5 Count Indictment against Troutdale, Oregon resident Hawazen Sameer Mothafar, 31, charging two counts of Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to a Designated Terrorist Organization and one count of Providing and Attempting to Provide Material Support to a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2339B(a)(1). In addition, the indictment charges Mothafar with one count of False Statements in an Immigration Application in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1546(a) and one count of False Statement to a Government Agency in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2).

Mothafar had his initial appearance in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo today. Due to the fact that Mothafar has physical disabilities and is confined to a wheelchair, the Government did not seek detention. Rather, Mothafar was released on conditions including limitations on travel and the use of electronic devices.

According to the allegations contained within the indictment, between February 2015, and up to the time of arrest, Mothafar conspired with ISIS members to provide material support to ISIS. This support included a range of activities. Mothafar produced and distributed ISIS propaganda and recruiting materials that he created and edited in coordination with official ISIS media operatives located overseas. Mothafar produced, edited, and distributed a number of publications and articles including “Effective Stabbing Techniques,” which provided detailed guidance on how to best kill and maim a target in a knife attack, a tutorial on using explosive ignition devices entitled “How Does a Detonator Work,” and propaganda that encouraged readers to carry out attacks in their home countries if they could not travel overseas to fight. Mothafar also maintained contact with ISIS officials overseas and provided technical support to these individuals that included opening social media and email accounts for official use. During the time of this alleged activity, Mothafar also made false statements on immigration documents and to government officials denying any ties to terrorist organizations.

“This defendant is a legal permanent resident of the United States who abandoned the country that took him in and instead pledged allegiance to ISIS and repeatedly and diligently promoted its violent objectives” said United States Attorney Williams. “Our national security prosecutors and law enforcement partners will continue to ensure that those who threaten our country are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

"The threat of ISIS-inspired terrorism remains very real thanks, in part, to an army of online supporters who produce propaganda that aims to incite 'lone actor' operators in the U.S. and around the world. Today, the FBI arrested one such man in our own community for his alleged role as a leading figure in the Islamic State's media network," said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. "When it comes to cases like this one, a computer and a keyboard can be powerful weapons against enemies of the Islamic State."

This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Portland Field Office and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ethan Knight and Geoffrey Barrow.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated November 5, 2020