NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio- A Sheffield Lake man was arrested on terrorism-related charges in North Olmsted Friday morning, according to the Cleveland Division of the FBI.
Amir Said Abdul Rahman Al-Ghazi, 38, was taken into custody without incident and is suspected of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He changed his name from Robert C. McCollum earlier this year.
“It is clear that no area is immune from the influence of ISIL and its recruitment machine. We hope this arrest will serve as a strong message to others who may consider providing support to terrorists,” Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony said in a news release on Friday.
He caught the attention of the FBI in 2012, when his publicly-available Facebook profile contained violent extremist statements. The FBI said Al-Ghazi pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, or ISIL.
“We are all Islamic state citizens. This isn’t some gang in the desert you’re fighting. This is WW3 the beginning has just begun,” Al-Ghazi wrote on Facebook, according to the FBI.
Al-Ghazi communicated with two people he believed were members of ISIL in the Middle East and expressed a desire to commit terrorist attacks on the United States, the FBI said in a news release. He also attempted to buy an AK-47 assault rifle.
“He’s more than a little surprised by the attention that this matter is receiving… He doesn’t quite understand why there’s so much media attention and something that he didn’t mean to be taken so seriously,” said defense attorney Roger Synenberg.
Al-Ghazi is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and distribution of a controlled substance. He is a U.S. citizen.