South Carolina man sentenced to 20 years for trying to join Islamic State

National News
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WASHINGTON (WSAV) – A man who attempted to provide material support to ISIS was sentenced to 20 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release yesterday. 

Zakaryia Abdin, 20, of Ladsen, South Carolina entered a guilty plea in August 2018 and has been in federal custody since his arrest in March 2017. 

Abdin was arrested by the FBI on March 30, 2017 when he attempted to board an airplane to travel overseas and join ISIS. 

“The most important job of government is protecting the people of the United States from harm, whether it comes from criminals or terrorists,” U.S. Attorney Sherri A. Lydon said.  “This case is an example of law enforcement doing exactly that, and preventing what could have been a much greater tragedy.”

According to a press release by the Department of Justice, Abdin is a U.S. Citizen and began his efforts to join the terrorist organization in January 2017 when he created a Facebook page to try to join. Later that month, he visited the FBI in Mount Pleasant to meet with an FBI Special Agent from the Joint Terrorism Task Force. 

The agent advised Abdin about the FBI’s role in conducting counterterrorism investigations, discussed various statutory definitions and told Abdin that it was illegal to give any foreign terrorist organization any form of material support, including personnel.

After that, Abdin made contact with an undercover FBI employee who he thought was a person affiliated with ISIS who could get him overseas to Syria or Egypt. He informed him that he had given a pledge of loyalty to ISIS in 2014.

Abdin continued to communicate with the undercover agent, sending him photos of himself with weapons and assuring him he knew how to use them. 

Abdin applied for a passport, and when it was delivered, he sent the undercover agent a message telling him, “let the brothers know I am coming very soon.”

On March 30, 2017, Abdin arrived at the Charleston International Airport, checked into his flight and was arrested. 

“His goal was to kill on behalf of ISIS, whether that was in the United States or abroad,” U.S. Attorney Lydon said. “His goal was to be an ISIS soldier, and to kill Americans wherever ISIS directed him.”  

U.S. Attorney Lydon commended the work of Charleston’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and said that this is the first conviction for a person attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization in the District of South Carolina.

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