A Seattle man has been arrested and charged for allegedly trying to join ISIS, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Tuesday.
“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,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said. “The FBI was just as determined to stop him, and he was intercepted as he tried to make his way abroad.”
Williams “self-radicalized” and “pledged loyalty to ISIS,” Special Agent in Charge Donald M. Voiret said.
Seattle Man Charged with Attempting to Provide Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization: Elvin Hunter Bgorn Williams was arrested at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on criminal charges related to efforts to join Islamic State of Iraq an… https://t.co/7y7WbkEo1g
— FBI Seattle (@FBISeattle) June 1, 2021
The FBI says it was first tipped off about Williams in 2017 after his high school contacted the FBI about Williams’ alleged interest in joining ISIS. Williams’ mother told FBI agents in 2017 her son said he wanted to move to Syria or Iraq to fight for ISIS, the DOJ alleged in a complaint. Williams’ mother allegedly canceled her internet because her son was using the internet to watch ISIS-related material.
Williams’ mother later reported to authorities “she was concerned Williams wanted to travel to Syria” to join ISIS.
The FBI was contacted again in November when a member of a Seattle-area Mosque expressed concerns about Williams’ alleged involvement with ISIS propaganda, according to the DOJ. Williams allegedly used Mosque-provided electronics to talk with ISIS radicals and “view ISIS propaganda videos of beheadings and other acts of violence.”
Williams allegedly swore allegiance to ISIS in November, the DOJ said. He also allegedly told his ISIS counterparts if he was unable to travel overseas “he would commit an attack in the U.S. on behalf of ISIS.”
The suspect, identified as Elvin Hunter Bgorn Williams, 20, of Seattle, was about to board an international flight Friday when he was arrested, court documents say.https://t.co/muQv2LojIb
— WSBT (@WSBT) June 2, 2021
Undercover FBI agents began conversing with Williams in February, posing as ISIS recruiters. The agents told Williams he was approved to fight with ISIS, prompting him to book his flight. (RELATED: Man Gets Life In Prison For ISIS-Inspired Subway Pipebomb In New York)
Williams is charged with attempting to provide material to support a foreign terrorist organization, a charge that carries 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,” Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said. “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.”