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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Montesano Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Weapons Possession

Possessed a Machine Gun in presence of Undercover Officer; Discussed Support for ISIL and Aspirations to attack Police or Military Installation

          A Montesano man who expressed a desire to attack the police or U.S. Military personnel out of allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), pleaded guilty today to possession of machine guns in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  DANIEL SETH FRANEY, 33, a/k/a Abu Dawuud was arrested in February 2016, following an undercover investigation during which he repeatedly violated a permanent protection order prohibiting him from possessing firearms.  FRANEY faces up to ten years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton on October 7, 2016.

          According to the plea agreement and other records filed in the case, on multiple occasions between September and November 2015, FRANEY handled several firearms, to include firing fully automatic machineguns on one occasion.  He did so while acknowledging he knew he was legally prohibited from possessing firearms.

          FRANEY became the target of a federal investigation following reports from members of the public that they had heard FRANEY espouse violent rhetoric, particularly in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.  The citizen reports indicated FRANEY had made statements advocating the killing of non-Muslim Americans, particularly members of the U.S. military and law enforcement.  One citizen reported that FRANEY repeatedly asked to purchase a firearm from the citizen, despite FRANEY’s admissions that he was not legally allowed to possess firearms.

          During the investigation, FRANEY traveled with a person who he thought would assist him in acquiring weapons.  In fact, the person was an undercover law enforcement officer who was investigating FRANEY in light of the above referenced reports.  During the undercover investigation, FRANEY was captured on audio attempting to acquire firearms, particularly AK-47s.  FRANEY also discussed what he deemed were good targets for an attack, all the while repeatedly referring to his support for ISIL.               

          The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg for the Western District of Washington, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.  The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which combines investigators from federal, state, and local law enforcement.  Task force members include the Seattle Police Department, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, the Federal Protective Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and elements of the U.S. Army’s 902nd Military Intelligence Group.  In addition, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department contributed significantly to this investigation.

National Security
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Violent Crimes
Updated July 12, 2016