A North Carolina man was sentenced to 243 months in federal prison, followed by a term of three years supervised release, for attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and possession of firearm by a felon, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Ripley Rand of the Middle District of North Carolina and Special Agent in Charge John Strong of the FBI’s Charlotte, North Carolina, Division.
Donald Ray Morgan, 44, of Rowan County, North Carolina, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Schroeder of the Middle District of North Carolina. On Oct. 30, 2014, Morgan pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and possession of firearm by a felon.
According to court documents, Morgan knowingly attempted beginning in or about January 2014 until on or about Aug. 2, 2014, to provide support and resources, including his own services, to the designated foreign terrorist organization the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). On at least one occasion, Morgan unsuccessfully attempted to travel from Lebanon to Syria to join ISIL. Morgan also frequently used social media and an interview with an international journalist to express his support for ISIL and violent terrorist activities.
“Morgan attempted to travel to Syria in order to provide material support to ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “The sentence in this case demonstrates that we will continue to bring to justice those who engage in this conduct, and that protecting the nation against these threats remains one of our highest priorities.”
“We will continue to do everything we can to shine a light on the false allure of violent extremism and protect innocent people from terrorist activity, whether inside or outside the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Rand.
“Donald Ray Morgan proved himself to be a threat to national security,” said Special Agent in Charge Strong. “He traveled overseas with intentions to join the violent terrorist group, ISIL in Syria. One of the FBI’s highest priorities is to stop American citizens who support terrorist organizations and ensure they are held accountable for their actions.”
Court documents also reveal that Morgan possessed and later sold an assault rifle in January 2012, after having been convicted of a North Carolina state felony offense in 1997.
Morgan was initially arrested on Aug. 2, 2014, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on a federal indictment for possession of a firearm by a felon.
Assistant Attorney General Carlin joined U.S. Attorney Rand in commending the work of the FBI’s Charlotte Division and the Greensboro, North Carolina, Resident Agency Joint Terrorism Task Force (Greensboro Police Department; Guilford County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Office; High Point, North Carolina Police Department; and the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Police Department), the ATF, the U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection in bringing Morgan to justice.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Graham Green of the Middle District of North Carolina, with the assistance of Trial Attorney Paul Casey of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.