Tuesday, February 13, 2018

ISIS Supporter Sentenced to Prison for Firearms Offense

Casey Charles Spain, 29, of Richmond, Virginia, who is a previously convicted felon and supporter of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization, was sentenced today to the statutory maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment, for being a felon in possession of a firearm less than three weeks after he was released from prison.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Edward C. O’Callaghan, Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick for the Eastern District of Virginia and Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Lee of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office made the announcement.  The sentence was issued by U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr.

According to court documents and statements made in court proceedings, Spain was in prison for over seven years after being convicted for abducting a 15-year-old girl with the intent to rape her.  Separate and apart from this incident, Spain previously served time in prison for stabbing an individual with a sword.  During his most recent period in prison, Spain became radicalized and swore a pledge of loyalty, commonly known as bayat, to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.  Spain also obtained a tattoo of the ISIS flag on his back, and repeatedly expressed a desire to engage in acts of violence.  Spain was reportedly fixated on attacking a target such as the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, and was excited about potentially attacking police stations, as well as an armory in Richmond.

After Spain was released from prison on Aug. 11, 2017, he discussed on recorded telephone calls with still-incarcerated prisoners his desire to travel overseas and join ISIS.  The FBI began conducting surveillance of Spain immediately upon his release, including making covert contact with him using FBI undercover employees (UCE) and a Confidential Human Source (CHS). Spain spoke on multiple occasions to the CHS about his strong desire to obtain a firearm.  During that same time period, Spain established a Facebook account to speak with individuals located overseas about ISIS and his desire serve as a mujahid (fighter) for the terrorist organization.

During a meeting on Aug. 30, 2017, with the CHS and a UCE, Spain described his intention to purchase a semiautomatic handgun with a 50-round barrel canister, and that he had made arrangements to buy the handgun from an individual online.  Given Spain’s criminal history, his desire to obtain a firearm, and his apparent impatience to obtain one, the CHS — as part of a controlled FBI undercover operation — offered to provide Spain what the CHS described as his own personal weapon.  In reality, the firearm, which was a 9mm Glock semiautomatic handgun, was the property of the FBI that had been rendered inert for safety reasons.

The next day, as part of the undercover operation, the CHS and UCE met Spain outside of his Richmond residence.  The CHS provided Spain the Glock handgun, at which point members of the FBI Richmond SWAT team moved in to arrest Spain.  Spain initially attempted to escape arrest by running and jumping a nearby fence, but FBI SWAT members pursued and quickly apprehended him.

Trial Attorney Raj Parekh of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Hood prosecuted the case.