Seattle man pleads guilty to attempting to travel to the Middle East to join a foreign terrorist organization
Defendant swore oath to ISIS and attempted to travel to Middle East to commit acts of violence
Seattle – A 21-year-old Seattle man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Providing Material Support to a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. Elvin Hunter Bgorn Williams was arrested May 28, 2021, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on criminal charges related to his alleged efforts to join the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization, to engage in violent acts of terrorism in the Middle East or the United States. Williams faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour on June 14, 2022.
According to court documents, Williams was arrested following a lengthy investigation into his efforts to join ISIS.
According to the plea agreement, in November 2020, Williams began telling family members he was a member of ISIS. Williams posted a video on Facebook in which he swore an oath of loyalty to a leader of ISIS.
Using confidential sources close to Williams, the FBI monitored his activity and became aware of his efforts to travel to the Middle East and join ISIS. Williams expressed to his associates that if he could not travel overseas, he would commit an attack in the U.S. on behalf of ISIS. Williams began communicating with those he believed were ISIS recruiters who could get him to an ISIS terror cell in the Middle East or other parts of the world.
The plea agreement contains statements Williams made about his intentions: that he sought martyrdom, had “no problem with killing,” and hoped to be involved in beheading others.
In May 2021, Williams obtained a passport and pawned a laptop computer to raise funds for his travel. In early May 2021, Williams booked an airline ticket from Seattle to Amsterdam and on to Egypt to join ISIS. On Friday May 28, 2021, he went to Sea-Tac Airport to catch the first leg of his international flight. Williams was arrested at the departure gate.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Seattle with assistance from the King County Sheriff’s Office; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Homeland Security Investigations; Federal Air Marshals; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; U.S Marshals Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Transportation Security Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Naval Criminal Investigative Service; Seattle Police Department; Bellevue Police Department; and Port of Seattle Police Department.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Nicholas W. Brown for the Western District of Washington, and Special Agent in Charge Donald Voiret of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office made the announcement.
Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg of the Western District of Washington’s Terrorism and Violent Crime Unit, and Trial Attorney Andrew Sigler of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case.