Ohio man sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempting to provide support to ISIS, commit a hate crime

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Damon Joseph

WASHINGTON (WJW)– An Ohio man was sentenced on Monday to 20 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

Damon M. Joseph, aka Abdullah Ali Yusuf, 23, of Holland, Ohio, is also accused of attempting to commit a hate crime – an attack on a synagogue in the Toledo area.

Court documents say Joseph posted photographs of weapons and messages in support of ISIS on his social media accounts in 2018, which caught the attention of law enforcement, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The release says, beginning in September 2018, Joseph engaged in a series of online conversations with several undercover FBI agents where he repeatedly stated and affirmed his support for ISIS and over the few weeks following, Joseph said to an undercover agent that he wanted to participate in an attack on behalf of ISIS.

In December 2018, Joseph forwarded a document to the agent that laid out his plans for an attack on “Jews who support state of Israel.” He later met with an undercover FBI agent and discussed conducting a mass shooting at a synagogue, identifying two synagogues in the greater Toledo area as potential targets and discussed the types of weapons he believed would cause mass casualties – AR 15s, AK 47, Glock handguns and ammunition, the release says.

He was arrested after taking a black duffel bag from an undercover officer containing two semi-automatic rifles, which had been made inoperable by officers so that the public was not in danger.

Joseph pleaded guilty in May.

“Inspired by ISIS, Damon Joseph planned to conduct a deadly terrorist attack at a synagogue in Ohio.  He hoped to cause mass casualties by selecting a time when numerous innocent victims would be present.  For this conduct, he will now spend 20 years in prison,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

“In a matter of months, Damon Joseph progressed from a self-radicalized, virtual jihadist to planning an actual attack on fellow Americans,” said Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith of the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office. “Mr. Joseph will now serve time behind bars for his actions. In the name of ISIS, Joseph planned a mass-casualty attack against citizens simply wanting to attend their desired houses of worship, which were two Toledo-area synagogues.”

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, comprised of over 50 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Baeppler and Jerome Teresinski of the Northern District of Ohio and Trial Attorneys Alexandra Hughes and Joshua Champagne of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, as well as AeJean Cha of the Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.

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