Justice Dept: Three Florida Men Arrested for Conspiracy to Support ISIS

The Justice Department announced Friday that three Palm Beach, Florida men had been charged for conspiring to support ISIS. One conspirator was reported to have been arrested as he attempted to board a plane to Germany on his way to Syria.

Palm Beach ISIS Supporters Arrested WSVN
Image of alleged ISIS supporters via WSVN-TV.

Kathleen Walter with WPEC-TV reported on allegations in the criminal complaint against the trio.

…CBS12 News has learned that, according to the criminal complaint, the accused terrorists practiced shooting at a local indoor firearms range and at a remote wildlife area in Palm Beach County; that Hubbard and Christian had professed support of terror acts at Fort Hood, San Bernardino and Pulse in Orlando; that Christian was in contact with an Islamic State member in Syria; and that the trio used the coded phrase “playing soccer” when referring to joining the terror group.

The complaint also alleges that Christian had been radicalizing an individual known to the FBI by having him watch video lectures and sermons by Anwar al-Awlaki–who was leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula when he was killed in 2011.”

Text of the DOJ press release:

Three Florida Men Charged with Conspiring and Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIL

Three Palm Beach County, Florida, residents were charged with conspiring and attempting to support the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and members of the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) made the announcement.

Gregory Hubbard, aka Jibreel, 52, of West Palm Beach, Florida; Darren Arness Jackson, aka Daoud, 50, also of West Palm Beach; and Dayne Atani Christian, aka Shakur, 31, of Lake Park, Florida, were charged by a criminal complaint with knowingly conspiring and attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIL. Christian was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The detention hearing will take place on July 27, 2016, and the defendants will be arraigned on Aug. 5, 2016.

“According to the complaint, these defendants conspired and attempted to provide material support to ISIL and one of the defendants was arrested attempting to travel overseas to join and fight for the deadly terrorist organization,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “The National Security Division’s highest priority is countering terrorist threats, and we will continue to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters abroad and bring to justice those who conspire and attempt to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.”

“Individuals seeking to travel and take up arms with ISIL pose a threat to the United States and humanity across the globe,” said U.S. Attorney Ferrer. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force continue to work proactively in order to stifle and disrupt any potential danger posed by the terrorist organizations and their supporters.”

“Terrorism-related arrests such as this serve to remind us of the importance of being vigilant,” said Special Agent in Charge Piro. “When you see something that doesn’t seem right, report it to law enforcement. Fighting terrorism is the FBI’s number one priority. Any information that can put us on the trail of individuals intent on terrorist acts is valuable.”

According to the allegations contained in the complaint, Hubbard expressed support for ISIL and told an FBI confidential human source (CHS) that he wanted to travel to Syria and join ISIL for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad. Hubbard introduced the CHS to Christian and Jackson, both of whom provided weapons and firearms instruction to Hubbard and the CHS, whom they understood were preparing to travel overseas to join and fight for ISIL.

The complaint further alleges that Jackson and Christian also expressed a desire to join ISIL. Hubbard purchased an airplane ticket to Germany, where he planned to board a train to Turkey and then head to Syria. Hubbard was arrested on July 21, 2016, at Miami International Airport prior to the first leg of his overseas trip. Jackson, who had driven Hubbard to the airport, was arrested after he left the airport premises. Christian was arrested at his place of work.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

If convicted, the defendants face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the material support charge. Christian faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted on the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The FBI and JTTF investigated the case with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Transportation Security Administration; Miami International Airport Police Department; Boca Raton, Florida, Police Department; Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office; and City of West Palm Beach Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen E. Gilbert, Brian K. Frazier and Edward C. Nucci and Trial Attorneys Larry Schneider and David Cora of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.”

Link to download criminal complaint.

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