A Florida man pleaded guilty today to attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, also known as ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization since 2014.
According to court documents, Romeo Xavier Langhorne, 31, of St. Augustine, pledged his allegiance to ISIS at some point in 2014, knowing that ISIS was a designated foreign terrorist organization and that they engaged in acts of terrorism.
If convicted, Langhorne faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Throughout 2018 and 2019, Langhorne reaffirmed his support for ISIS on various social media accounts, as well as posted ISIS-produced videos to his YouTube account and participated in online chat rooms with like-minded individuals. In December 2018 and January 2019, Langhorne expressed in one of those chat rooms an interest in creating a video that would improve on existing videos demonstrating the making and use of a deadly explosive – triacetone triperoxide, also known as TATP.
In Feb. 2019, Langhorne began communicating with an undercover employee (UCE) with the FBI who was posing as someone working on behalf of ISIS. Langhorne told the UCE about his plans to create and disseminate an instructional video on making a TATP and sought the UCE’s assistance in creating the video. Langhorne told the UCE that, in order to ensure that the video was not removed from the internet by service providers, the video should include disclaimers advising that it was intended for educational purposes. However, Langhorne informed the UCE that his true purpose in making and distributing the video was to arm ISIS adherents and others with knowledge of how to make TATP and use it for terrorism-related purposes in support of ISIS.
The FBI produced a video in accordance with Langhorne’s instructions, but – unbeknownst to Langhorne – it featured an inert chemical formula for TATP that would not produce an explosion. In Nov. 2019, the UCE provided versions of the TATP video to Langhorne, and Langhorne distributed the video by uploading it to a video-sharing website.
Langhorne was arrested at his residence in Roanoke, Virginia, on Nov. 15, 2019, pursuant to a criminal complaint, and ordered detained pending trial. While in custody, Langhorne admitted that he had “probably at some point” pledged allegiance to ISIS and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was the leader of ISIS from 2014 until his death on Oct. 26, 2019. Langhorne admitted that he was the person who had communicated with the UCE and admitted that he had uploaded the TATP video to the internet.