A 26-year-old Black Muslim would-be terrorist in Suffolk, Virginia has now been sentenced to 20 years behind bars for his support of the Allah-Worshipping global terrorist organization known as the Islamic State.
Lionel Wilson, of Suffolk, was the first subject to an investigation after the Federal Bureau of Investigation in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security was tipped off that the Black Muslim Radical had not only changed his name to Harun Ash-Shababi but was found to have downloaded guidelines off the internet with a step by step handbook on how to carry out and commit terrorist attacks inside of large cities.
A few days after the discovery of Harun Ash-Shababi downloading the terrorist propaganda, the FBI had an informant close to the impending terrorist tell them that Ash-Shababi was seeking to purchase over 1,000 rounds of ammunition from him, believing that he was a close friend.
The FBI then began to monitor the bank accounts of Harun Ash-Shababi and noticed that he was draining all of his assets and mailing cash to family and friends in what appeared to be the final stages before he decided to carry out a major terrorist attack.
He was later apprehended once he attempted to purchase the weapons and ammunition to carry out the large-scale atrocity, and he's currently sat in jail for over a year pending his trial.
During the trial, Federal Prosecutors presented evidence that Harun Ash-Shababi had not only been in direct contact with who he believed was the Islamic State in Iraq, but had knowingly transferred cash to the terrorist organization outside of America.
The prosecution said that in 2014, he began sharing articles and videos about the Islamic State with a girl that he knew from high school, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, and that his interest in the terror organization would only grow over time.
Then in December of 2015, the day after the infamous terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California left 14 innocent people dead and 22 injured; he ordered an AK-47-style rifle, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
Then in March of 2016, he declared on social media that he had sworn his undying allegiance to the Islamic State, and supported the Caliphate.
Those initial posts on Facebook led two people who knew Harun Ash-Shababi prior to his name-change contact the FBI.
In April of the same year, an undercover FBI Agent reached out to him online, posing as someone connected to the Islamic State who wanted to recruit him.
Following several online conversations between the FBI Agent posing as an ISIS representative, and at least one in-person meeting, Harun Ash-Shababi then contacted a man he believed was an Islamic State financier to donate.
He then began to transfer cash to the “Islamic State financier”, in an effort to support what he believed was a terrorist organization.
Before accepting the money, the undercover FBI Agent told Harun Ash-Shababi the money was “going to kill” people.
“Do you understand?” he said. “We’re not feeding people, we’re not, you know, we’re not putting bandages on people.”
Harun Ash-Shababi then began talking more about carrying out an attack of his own inside of the United States of America, prosecutors said.
He expressed an interest in targeting police or other law enforcement in such a way that the military would have to come in and help, causing great casualties, death, and suffering.
The FBI then first made a major move to apprehend Harun Ash-Shababi back on December 21st of 2016; just two days after he told the undercover FBI Agent that he would see his online girlfriend from Brazil, whom he sometimes referred to as his wife, in heaven.
Agents arrested him outside his home, believing that he was planning to carry out a major attack, and they had to prevent it.
Even after his arrest, Harun Ash-Shababi reiterated that he “stood with ISIS” and his belief that he was part of a “holy war.”
He never once expressed any regret, and apparently had become so indoctrinated that he believed killing innocent people was “Allah's will”.
He also told Federal Agents they were lucky they didn’t pick him up inside his house because he would have killed as many of them as he could.
Investigators confirmed this after they found a loaded AK-47 rifle and a 9mm handgun in his bedroom, and Harun Ash-Shababi said he would have been happy to shoot it out with them for Allah.
Harun Ash-Shababi pleaded guilty in August of 2017 as part of the plea agreement with the Federal Government. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to not file additional charges against him.
During the hearing, U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen asked if Harun Ash-Shababi had disavowed the Islamic State.
His attorneys, public defenders, Keith Kimball and Suzanne Katchmar defended him until the very end.
Katchmar said she that she had not asked Harun Ash-Shababi that question, but instead argued that she did not believe he wished to “pursue any extremist behavior” in support of the Islamic State.
She noted her client has mental health problems and could possibly benefit from some special “deprogramming” therapy, in an effort to avoid prison time.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph DePadilla and Andrew Bosse declined to comment on the plea agreement.
DePadilla said that the Federal Agents and investigators monitoring Harun Ash-Shababi’ jail phone calls have heard him try to reach out to some of his online friends with the help of unidentified proxies to the Islamic State.
At his sentencing herring, Harun Ash-Shababi thanked his family for their love and support over the years. He singled out his grandmother, who raised him as if he were her son.
Harun Ash-Shababi said his family knew “how he actually stands on the matters”, and supported his decision to die for Allah.
The court ruled that he would serve the maximum sentence allowed, which is 20 years behind bars, and Harun Ash-Shababi will soon be transferred to a Federal Detention Center to serve out that time, according to http://m.suffolknewsherald.com/2017/12/20/man-gets-max-for-terrorism-charge/
Suffolk News Herald.
“Lionel Williams planned to carry out a lone-wolf style attack,” said U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente. “He adhered to a radicalized version of Islam, and publicly swore his allegiance to ISIS.”
“What started with radicalized internet postings escalated to attempts to help ISIS buy weapons and ammunition, and ended with a plan to kill law enforcement officers here in Virginia. I want to thank the FBI Norfolk Field Office and the Suffolk Police Department for their extraordinary work on this case,” said Boente.
In addition to the prison sentence, upon release Harun Ash-Shababi will be under a lifetime of supervision.
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