Adam Dandach, 21, of Orange, California, pleaded guilty today to a two-count second superseding information charging him with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and making a false statement in a passport application.
The guilty plea was announced today by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California and Assistant Director in Charge David Bowdich of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. Dandach pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge James V. Selna of the Central District of California.
“Adam Dandach attempted to travel to Syria to provide material support to ISIL, and lied in his passport application in order to do so,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “One of the National Security Division’s top priorities remains stemming the flow of foreign fighters and bringing to justice those who seek to provide material support to foreign designated terrorist organizations.”
“This case demonstrates the need for continued vigilance and swift action to fight the false allure of foreign terrorist organizations that threaten the security of the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Decker. “As Mr. Dandach succumbed to ISIL’s online recruiting efforts, the Joint Terrorism Task Force was able to uncover his plan before he left the United States, which prevented this young man from becoming a foreign fighter. As a result of today’s guilty pleas, Mr. Dandach now faces a lengthy term in federal prison.”
“Mr. Dandach acknowledged his support for the Islamic State, a terrorist organization whose members are known for the torture and murder of innocent victims,” said Assistant Director in Charge Bowdich. “The FBI and our Joint Terrorism Task Force partners are committed to disrupting the increasing trend concerning individuals who travel, or attempt to travel, from the United States to train with terrorists, and who thereby pose a potential threat of returning to commit attacks on U.S. soil.”
Dandach admitted, pursuant to court documents, that beginning in approximately November 2013 and continuing until July 2, 2014, he attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIL with the purpose of providing material support to the designated foreign terrorist organization. He further admitted that he knew that ISIL was a designated foreign terrorist organization that engaged in terrorist activity and terrorism.
According to court documents, on July 1, 2014, Dandach purchased a ticket to fly from Santa Ana, California, to Istanbul. The FBI intercepted Dandach at the John Wayne International Airport the following day. Dandach told FBI special agents that his ultimate destination was Syria and that he intended to pledge allegiance to ISIL’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He explained that he wished to live under the control of ISIL and intended to undergo weapons training.
Dandach also admitted that he made a false statement in a passport application, namely that he had lost his previous passport. In fact, a family member had taken Dandach’s passport from him during the previous year when he expressed an interest in traveling to Syria.
Dandach faces a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years for providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years for making a false statement in a passport application. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2016.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Orange County, California. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Celeste Corlett of the Central District of California and Trial Attorney Annamartine Salick of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, with assistance from Trial Attorneys Jolie Zimmerman and Kelly Harris of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.