Mohamed Bailor Jalloh, 27, of Sterling, Virginia, and a former member of the Army National Guard, was sentenced today to 11 years in prison and five years supervised release for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Director in Charge Andrew W. Vale of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady.
Jalloh pleaded guilty on Oct. 27, 2016. According to court documents, in March 2016, a now-deceased member of ISIL who was located overseas brokered an introduction between Jalloh and an individual in the U.S. who was actually an FBI confidential human source (CHS). The ISIL member was actively plotting an attack in the U.S. and believed the attack would be carried out with the assistance of Jalloh and the CHS. Jalloh met with the CHS on two occasions and told the CHS he was a former member of the Virginia Army National Guard, but that he decided not to re-enlist after listening to online lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Jalloh had recently taken a six-month trip to Africa where he had met with ISIL members in Nigeria and first began communicating online with the ISIL member who later brokered his introduction to the CHS. During their meeting, Jalloh also told the CHS he thought about conducting an attack all the time, and that he was close to doing so at one point.
Jalloh claimed to know how to shoot guns and praised the gunman who killed five U.S. military members in a terrorist attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in July 2015. Jalloh also stated he had been thinking about conducting an attack similar to the terrorist attack at Ft. Hood, Texas, in November 2009, which killed 13 people and wounded 32 others.
According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, during the May 2016 meeting, Jalloh asked the CHS about the timeline for an operation and commented that it was better to plan an attack operation for the month of Ramadan, and stated that such operations are, “100 percent the right thing.” Jalloh also asked if the CHS could assist him in providing a donation to ISIL. Ultimately, Jalloh provided a prepaid cash transfer of $500 to a contact of the CHS that Jalloh believed was a member of ISIL, but who was in fact an undercover FBI employee.
According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, in June 2016, Jalloh travelled to North Carolina and made an unsuccessful attempt to obtain firearms. On July 2, 2016 Jalloh went to a gun dealership in northern Virginia, where he test-fired and purchased an assault rifle. Unbeknownst to Jalloh, the rifle was rendered inoperable before he left the dealership with the weapon. Jalloh was arrested the following day and the FBI seized the rifle.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. Gibbs and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon L. Van Grack for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Trial Attorney Jolie Zimmerman of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section prosecuted the case.