Arafat M. Nagi, 47, of Lackawanna, New York, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, to be followed by 15 years of supervised release, for attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. for the Western District of New York and Special Agent in Charge Gary Loeffert of the FBI’s Buffalo Office made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.
On Aug. 28, 2014, a community member advised the FBI that the defendant spoke about violent jihad to various people in the Lackawanna community and it was common for Nagi to get into verbal complaints over his jihadi beliefs. Further investigation determined that the defendant pledged allegiance to ISIS and the leader of the terrorist group, Abu Bakr al Bagdadi.
Investigators learned that the defendant traveled to Turkey on two occasions, in October 2012 and July 2014, with the intention of meeting with members of ISIS. Prior to traveling to Turkey, the defendant purchased a large number of military combat items, including a tactical vest, army combat shirt, body armor, Shahada Flag, combat boots, backpack, burn kit, a hunting knife, machete and night vision goggles. Once in Turkey, Nagi purchased a SIM card and activated a Turkish cell phone number. Facebook messages showed that the defendant contacted other individuals, who were prepared to help the defendant enter Syria to join ISIS, and exchanged Turkish cell phone numbers. In addition, evidence seized from the defendant’s electronic devices showed that the defendant, while in Turkey, was researching how to travel from Istanbul to cities close to the Syrian border.
During follow up interviews in December 2014 and March 2015, the community member who alerted the FBI regarding Nagi’s actions stated that the defendant still possessed radical political and religious views. According to the individual, Nagi was angry about the killing of rebels in Yemen which he blamed on the United States; pledged an oath to ISIS leaders; expressed agreement with ISIS tactics, including the killing of innocent men, women and children. The individual further reported that defendant planned to travel to Yemen and Turkey again soon.
This case was investigated by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, and assistance was provided by the New York State Attorney General’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy C. Lynch and Joel L. Violanti of the Western District of New York, and Trial Attorney Paul Casey of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.