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Seattle Man Who Had ‘No Problem with Killing’ Pleads Guilty to Trying to Join ISIS

Williams expressed to his associates that if he could not travel overseas, he would commit an attack in the United States on behalf of ISIS.

A Seattle man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

According to court documents, Elvin Hunter Bgorn Williams, 21, of Seattle, was arrested May 28, 2021, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on criminal charges related to his alleged efforts to join the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization, to engage in violent acts of terrorism in the Middle East or the United States.

According to court documents, Williams was arrested following a lengthy investigation into his efforts to join ISIS. According to his plea agreement, in November 2020, Williams began telling family members he was a member of ISIS. Williams posted a video on Facebook in which he swore an oath of loyalty to a leader of ISIS.

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 United States 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.

The plea agreement contains statements Williams made about his intentions: that he sought martyrdom, had “no problem with killing,” and hoped to be involved in beheading others.

In May 2021, Williams obtained a passport and pawned a laptop computer to raise funds for his travel. In early May 2021, Williams booked an airline ticket from Seattle to Amsterdam and on to Egypt to join ISIS. On May 28, 2021, he went to Sea-Tac Airport to catch the first leg of his international flight. Williams was arrested at the departure gate.

Williams pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 14 and faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Nicholas W. Brown for the Western District of Washington, and Special Agent in Charge Donald Voiret of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office made the announcement.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Seattle with assistance from the King County Sheriff’s Office; the U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Homeland Security Investigations; Federal Air Marshals; the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; the U.S Marshals Service; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the Transportation Security Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Naval Criminal Investigative Service; the Seattle Police Department; the Bellevue Police Department; and the Port of Seattle Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg of the Western District of Washington’s Terrorism and Violent Crime Unit and Trial Attorney Andrew Sigler of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case.

Read more at the Justice Department

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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