A man from Seattle was arrested Friday while trying to board an international flight to join the designated foreign terrorist organization ISIS.
The Department of Justice issued a press release Tuesday announcing the arrest of Elvin Hunter Bgorn Williams, 20, who is charged with trying to join ISIS “in order to engage in violent acts of terrorism in the Middle East or the United States.” The DOJ alleged in court documents that a lengthy investigation led to Williams’ arrest.
“As alleged, Williams was determined to support ISIS either by traveling overseas to join and fight with the terrorist organization, or by conducting an attack here in the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The FBI was just as determined to stop him, and he was intercepted as he tried to make his way abroad. The threat of terrorism at home and abroad remains, and the National Security Division is committed to holding accountable those who would provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this case.”
As the DOJ explained, Williams was first brought to the FBI’s attention when a Seattle-area mosque contacted the bureau with concerns about him.
“The mosque had attempted to provide support and guidance to Williams, but members became aware he was deeply involved in ISIS propaganda. Williams was using mosque-provided electronic devices to engage in online chats with ISIS radicals and to view ISIS propaganda videos of beheadings and other acts of violence. In November 2020, Williams allegedly swore an oath of allegiance to ISIS,” the DOJ reported. “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.”
Williams was caught after booking a flight to Amsterdam and then to Egypt in order to join the terrorist organization. He is charged with “attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization,” the DOJ explained. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
“This defendant proved persistent in his efforts to join ISIS – speaking with enthusiasm about acts of horrific bloodshed in the Middle East and here at home,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman for the Western District of Washington. “I want to commend those citizens who contacted law enforcement – including his family and faith community – expressing concerns about the defendant’s radicalization. Their courage to speak up and work with law enforcement was important to ensure public safety.”