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Published On: Tue, Feb 5th, 2019

Ohio man, Damon Joseph charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS

A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging an Ohio man with attempting to provide material support to ISIS, attempting to commit a hate crime, and possessing firearms in furtherance of a crime a violence stemming from his plan to attack in a synagogue in the Toledo area.

Damon M. Joseph, 21, also known as Abdullah Ali Yusuf, of Holland, Ohio, was arrested in December after he took possession of two semi-automatic rifles.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division, U.S Attorney Justin E. Herdman for the Northern District of Ohio and Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Hughes of the FBI’s Cleveland Division.

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“This man allegedly spent months planning a violent terrorist attack on behalf of ISIS here in the United States, and targeted a Jewish synagogue in the Toledo area specifically because of the faith of the people who worship there,” said U.S. Attorney Herdman.  “We will work to identify and arrest anyone who take steps to use violence to spread their ideology and to interfere with the free exercise of our essential rights.”

“In a matter of months, Damon Joseph allegedly progressed from radicalized, virtual jihadist to attack planner,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Hughes.  “He ultimately decided to target two Toledo-area synagogues for a mass-casualty attack in the name of ISIS. Joseph will now be accountable in a court of law for his pursuit of a violent act of terrorism upon our fellow citizens attending their desired house of worship.”

According to documents filed in court, Joseph drew the attention of law enforcement in 2018 by posting photographs of weapons and various messages in support of ISIS on his social media accounts, as well as a photograph originally distributed by the media wing of ISIS.  This activity led to multiple interactions between Joseph and undercover FBI agents.

During his communication with undercover agents, Joseph stated his support for ISIS and produced propaganda in support of ISIS recruitment.  In September, Joseph made videos that he sent to the undercover agent, hoping they would be used to recruit people to ISIS.  He also complained that the mosque he attended was critical of ISIS.

Joseph stated his support for violent attacks and operations.  For example, on Oct. 21, 2018,Joseph expressed support for “martyrdom operations” and stated: “what must be done, must be done” and “there are always casualties of war.”

On Oct. 30, Joseph and the undercover communicated regarding the mass shooting at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh. Joseph stated: “I admire what the guy did with the shooting actually.”  He added: “I can see myself carrying out this type of operation inshallah. They wouldn[’]t even expect [an attack] in my area…”

Over the next few weeks, Joseph continued stating he wanted to participate in an attack on behalf of ISIS.  On Dec. 2 he forwarded a document that laid out his plans for an attack, using the name “Abdullah Ali Yusuf” for himself.  In the document, he described plans to attack where the greatest number of people are gathered, inflict the most casualties during the attack and make sure no one escaped.

Joseph then stated that he did not see this necessarily as “a martyrdom operation” as his plan accounted for an escape and potential combat with law enforcement.

On Dec. 4, Joseph stated he was deciding between two synagogues in the area to attack.  He stated the choice would depend on “Which one will have [the] most people, what time and what day. Go big or go home.”

The next day, Joseph met with an undercover FBI agent and discussed conducting a mass shooting at a synagogue. Joseph identified two synagogues he viewed as targets in the greater Toledo area, and discussed the types of weapons he believed would be able to inflict mass casualties.

Joseph made written notes about the firearms he wanted and provided them to the undercover agent, stating he wanted AR 15s, AK 47s, Glocks and ammunition.

On Dec. 6, Joseph met with an undercover agent in the Toledo area and stated it would be ideal to attack two synagogues, but that it was probably more realistic to only attack one.  Joseph also stated specifically that he wanted to kill a rabbi.

 

 

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