A Washington man was arrested Friday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport States before a planned trip to the Middle East on charges related to his alleged efforts to join Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization, in order to engage in violent acts of terrorism in the Middle East or the United, according to federal officials..
The suspect, Elvin Hunter Bgorn Williams, 20, of Seattle, was about to board an international flight Friday when he was arrested, according to court documents. Bgorn was planning on engaging in terrorist acts in the Middle East or the US.
Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division said in a statement, "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. The FBI was just as determined to stop him, and he was intercepted as he tried to make his way abroad. The threat of terrorism at home and abroad remains, and the National Security Division is committed to holding accountable those who would provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this case."
According to the Justice Department, in November 2020, a member of a Seattle-area mosque contacted the FBI with concerns about Williams. The mosque had attempted to provide support and guidance to Williams, but members became aware he was deeply involved in ISIS propaganda. Williams was using mosque-provided electronic devices to engage in online chats with ISIS radicals and to view ISIS propaganda videos of beheadings and other acts of violence. In November 2020, Williams allegedly swore an oath of allegiance to ISIS.
Acting US Attorney Tessa M. Gorman for the Western District of Washington said, "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. 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."
The DOJ added that by 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 US 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.
Special Agent in Charge Donald M. Voiret of the FBI Seattle Field Office said, "This individual self-radicalized, pledged loyalty to ISIS, and became consumed with activities to join the cause overseas. We are grateful for the concerned citizens and family members who reported his behavior on multiple occasions and all of the law enforcement agencies who worked tirelessly on this case. These combined efforts no doubt saved lives."
According to court documents Williams tried to convince a friend to join him in a suicide attack on the Pride Parade in downtown Seattle. Williams allegedly said, "It’s one of the biggest pride parades in the United States. Plus, after COVID hits, there is going to be tons of people wanting to go to the gay pride parade."
Ironically, organizers of the Capitol Hill Pride & March, also held in Seattle, announced last month that they were banning Seattle Police officers from this year’s march and rally.
Court documents added that Williams planned to drive a semi-truck through the parade, mowing down marchers and spectators, then would jump out of the truck and open fire on the crowd. His friend refused to participate, and Williams gave up on the idea. He then became far more determined to join ISIS, and said he wanted to "become a terrorist for real."
Federal court documents allege Williams used mosque-provided electronic devices to engage in online chats with ISIS radicals and to view ISIS propaganda videos of beheadings and terrorist acts. In November 2020, Williams allegedly swore an oath of allegiance to ISIS.
In May of 2021, Williams booked air travel from Seattle to Egypt with a connection in Amsterdam to join ISIS. On Friday May 28, Williams was arrested at Sea-Tac Airport when he went to board his flight and was arrested at the departure gate.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Seattle with assistance from the King County Sheriff’s Office; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Homeland Security Investigations; Federal Air Marshals; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; U.S Marshals Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Transportation Security Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Naval Criminal Investigative Service; Seattle Police Department; Bellevue Police Department; and Port of Seattle Police Department are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg of the Western District of Washington’s Violent Crimes and Terrorism Unit, and Trial Attorney Andrew Sigler of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case.
Williams is charged in US District Court with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and if convicted, could face up to 20 years in prison.
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