West Chester Man Pleads Guilty to Plot to Attack U.S. Government Officers
Defendant was directed to launch attacks by deceased ISIL recruiter Junaid Hussain
CINCINNATI – Officials announced today the details of a national security case involving a plot to attack a U.S. military official and a local police station.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman for the Southern District of Ohio, Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Division, West Chester Police Chief Joel Herzog, Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent Colonel Paul A. Pride and Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac announced the unsealing of a bill of information and plea agreement related to Munir Abdulkader, 21, of West Chester, Ohio.
Under the plea agreement, Abdulkader has pleaded guilty to attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States, material support of a foreign terrorist organization and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Abdulkader was charged for his plot to attack and kill an employee of a U.S. military installation and then attack a local police station, all in the Southern District of Ohio.
According to the statement of facts admitted by Adbulkader at the plea hearing, beginning in at least July 2014 and continuing into 2015, Abdulkader expressed his support for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (“ISIL”) on Twitter accounts. From approximately March 2015 to mid-April 2015, Abdulkader began speaking with a Confidential Human Source (CHS) about his desire and intention to travel to Syria in order to join ISIL as a fighter.
During that same time, Abdulkader made plans and preparations to travel to Syria to join ISIL as a fighter. Namely, he secured a passport, saved money for the trip and researched the logistical details of traveling to Syria and joining ISIL. In late April, though, Abdulkader expressed concerns about the ability to travel and postponed his original departure date of May 2, 2015.
During May 2015, Abdulkader was in electronic communication with one or more individuals located overseas who he understood were members of ISIL. One of those individuals was a member of ISIL identified as Junaid Hussein. Through their communications, Junaid Hussein directed and encouraged Abdulkader to plan and execute a violent attack within the United States.
Abdulkader communicated with Junaid Hussein and the CHS about a plan to kill an identified military employee on account of his position with the United States government. The plan included abducting the employee at the employee’s home and filming the execution of the employee.
After killing the employee, Abdulkader planned to execute a violent attack on a police station in the Southern District of Ohio using firearms and Molotov cocktails.
In preparation for the attacks, Abdulkader took the following actions:
Asked the CHS to purchase a vest for holding ammunition.
On or about May 18, 2015, traveled to a police station in the Southern District of Ohio and conducted surveillance of the police station.
On or about May 20, 2015, went to a shooting range, learned how to operate certain firearms and practiced shooting the firearms. Abdulkader also negotiated the purchase of a firearm, namely an AK-47 assault rifle, for $350.
On May 21, 2015, provided funds for the purchase of an AK-47 assault rifle and took possession of the firearm.
Adbulkader was arrested on May 21, 2015 by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), after a controlled purchase and possession of the AK-47 assault rifle.
The defendant was charged by criminal complaint on May 22, 2015 and a bill of information was filed on March 2, 2016. Abdulkader pleaded guilty to the three charges in the information on March 24, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett. The case was under seal until today.
Attempted murder of government employees and officials is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Material support of a foreign terrorist organization is a crime punishable by 15 years in prison. Possession of a firearm in furtherance of an attempted crime of violence is a crime punishable by a mandatory sentence of five years in prison.
Assistant Attorney General Carlin and Acting U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the JTTF. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Mangan and Michael Dittoe of the Justice Department National Security Division Counterterrorism Section.
The JTTF is made up of officers and agents from the Cincinnati Police Department, Colerain Police Department, Dayton Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, University of Cincinnati Police Department, United States Air Force OSI, FBI, United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, United States Internal Revenue Service, United States Secret Service, United States Postal Inspection Service, West Chester Police Department and Xenia Police Department.