Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and United States Attorney William M. McSwain for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced that an Algerian man was sentenced today to 15 years’ imprisonment for conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists. United States District Judge Petrese B. Tucker presided over the proceeding.
Ali Charaf Damache, 53, also known as Theblackflag, was indicted in 2011 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and one count of attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism. He was extradited from Spain in 2017 and pleaded guilty in July 2018. Upon completing his prison sentence, he will be removed from the United States and return to Ireland, where he is a citizen, or alternatively, Algeria.
Damache, his co-defendant Mohammad Hassan Khalid, and others conspired to support, recruit, and coordinate a terrorist cell, consisting of men and women from Europe and the United States, to wage violent jihad in and around Europe. Jamie Paulin Ramirez, a resident of Colorado, and Colleen R. LaRose, aka Fatima LaRose, aka JihadJane, a resident of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania are among Damache’s co-conspirators.
Though there were several involved in the conspiracy, Damache was the force behind the terrorist cell he formed. He enticed LaRose and Ramirez to travel to Ireland live with him and train in the ways of violent jihad; convinced Khalid, LaRose and others to recruit men online to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe; and began to coordinate explosives training for his co-conspirators. He also trained Ramirez’s son in the ways of violent jihad, on one occasion taking him to a public park for physical training that scared him.
“At a time when radical terrorist groups use the Internet to recruit new members and coordinate attacks against innocent people, the National Security Division remains committed to investigating all possible threats to our country aggressively — including those that take place online,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “Through close cooperation with our international law enforcement partners and the dedicated work of our agents and prosecutors, we have brought Damache to justice. The sentence in this case and order of removal have made the United States safer, and I applaud the women and men throughout the law enforcement community who made it happen.”
“Today’s sentencing marks the end of a long and arduous prosecution that has spanned more than nine years, involved four defendants and five unnamed co-conspirators, and required multiple coordinated international arrests and two extradition applications,” said United States Attorney McSwain. “Damache and his co-conspirators were motivated by hate and prejudice, and their criminal activities presented a very real danger to our country and the world. This case is a prime example of the remarkable results we can accomplish when law enforcement – both foreign and domestic – work together to stop our enemies who intend to wage war on our way of life. As this case shows, our resolve to dismantle extremists groups is stronger than ever.”
This case was investigated by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York and the FBI Field Divisions in New York, Denver, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and the IRS. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and authorities in Spain provided substantial assistance. Authorities in Ireland also provided assistance in this matter.
The case is being prosecuted Trial Attorneys Matthew F. Blue and C. Alexandria Bogle of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah M. Wolfe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.