Balwinder Singh, 42, of Reno, Nevada, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists knowing and intending that such support would be used to commit terrorist attacks overseas.
The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI’s Las Vegas Division.
“Singh attempted to provide material support and resources to terrorists to create violence and disruption abroad,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “Identifying, thwarting and holding accountable individuals who pursue international terrorism is a top priority of the Department of Justice.”
“Today’s plea is the result of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force working proactively to disrupt terrorist attacks,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “National security is a top priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to locate, identify, and prosecute those who conspire and attempt to provide material support to terrorists and terrorist activities.”
“This is a strong indicator of the law enforcement community’s commitment to combating terrorism and keeping our nation safe,” said Special Agent in Charge Rouse.
Singh, aka Jhaji, aka Happy, aka Possi, aka Baljit Singh, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. He has been detained since his arrest on Dec. 17, 2013. He was charged on Dec. 18, 2013. Singh is a citizen of India and permanent U.S. resident.
According to court filed documents and admissions made in connection with the plea agreement, between September 2013 and Dec. 17, 2013, Singh conspired with others to support terrorist attacks in India as part of a movement to create an independent Sikh state in the Punjab region of India.
Singh communicated with co-conspirators by telephone to discuss these plans and agreed to provide material support by facilitating a co-conspirator’s travel to and within South Asia and providing funding and materials necessary to carry out an overseas attack.
In October 2013, Singh and co-conspirators agreed that one co-conspirator would travel to South Asia in the fall of 2013. Upon arrival, the co-conspirator would travel to India and commit a terror attack – likely an assassination or maiming of an Indian governmental official. The final target would be determined after the co-conspirator arrived in South Asia.
In November 2013, Singh purchased two sets of night vision goggles. In December 2013, he provided the night vision goggles to a co-conspirator who was going to carry out the planned attack. On Dec. 9, 2013, the co-conspirator attempted to board a flight from the San Francisco International Airport to Bangkok, Thailand in order to carry out the terror attack with the night vision goggles provided to him by Singh. U.S. law enforcement prevented the co-conspirator from boarding that flight. As a result, the planned terror attack never occurred. After these events, Singh and his co-conspirators continued to discuss and plan the terror attack in India until Singh’s arrest.
At the time of sentencing, under the plea agreement, Singh faces the statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing has been set for Feb. 27, 2017.
The case is being investigated by the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force in northern Nevada. The northern Nevada JTTF is comprised of the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Nevada Department of Investigation. In addition, ATF, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office provided assistance in the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sue Fahami, Brian L. Sullivan, Carla Higginbotham, and Trial Attorney Mara M. Kohn of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case.