On Oct. 25, 2018, Jason Michael Ludke, of Milwaukee, pled guilty to conspiring to provide material support or resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2339B(a)(1). Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and Special Agent-in-Charge R. Justin Tolomeo of the FBI’s Milwaukee Division made the announcement today.
According to the plea agreement, Ludke and a co-conspirator agreed that they would travel through Mexico to Syria and Iraq in order to join ISIS and to work under its direction and control. Ludke also recorded a video of himself pledging his allegiance to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and stating that he was ready to join ISIS. Ludke told an FBI Undercover Employee (UCE), who Ludke believed was assisting in the travel plans, that Ludke had training in jiu-jitsu and computers, which Ludke believed would benefit ISIS. On Oct. 5, 2016, Ludke and his coconspirator were traveling to the Texas/Mexico border in order to accomplish their plan to join ISIS (in Syria or Iraq), when law enforcement located and arrested them.
Ludke has prior convictions for child sexual assault and for making death threats against a federal judge. Also according to the plea agreement, Ludke was on probation at the time he was arrested and had cut the tracking device from his ankle before leaving Wisconsin.
“This conviction demonstrates the United States’ resolute commitment to protecting our country and combatting foreign terrorism,” United States Attorney Krueger said. “Individuals like Ludke who seek to provide material support to ISIS will be held accountable.”
“The FBI’s number one priority is protecting Americans from terrorism,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Justin Tolomeo. “I commend our Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which includes our local, state and federal partners, for their investigative efforts in identifying and arresting Jason Ludke that prevented him from joining the ISIS terror group.”
Ludke faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, a maximum term of supervised release of life, and a maximum fine of $250,000. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. The sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the JTTF and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Paul Kanter and Benjamin Taibleson and Trial Attorney Jolie F. Zimmerman of the Department’s Counterterrorism Section.