CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A NC teen has been charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIL according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The seven-count indictment was unsealed in federal court today, charging Justin Nojan Sullivan, 19, of Morganton, NC, with attempting to provide material support to ISIL; receipt of a silencer in interstate commerce with intent to commit a felony; receipt and possession of an unregistered firearm; concealment and storage of a stolen firearm; use of interstate facilities in the attempted commission of a murder-for-hire; and two counts of making false statements to FBI agents.
“According to allegations in the indictment, Sullivan attempted to provide material
support to ISIL by acquiring weapons and planning to conduct deadly attacks on our soil,” said
Assistant Attorney General Carlin.
According to the indictment, Sullivan pledged allegiance to ISIL and planned to get silencers to kill 1,000 people at a club.
“Justin Sullivan had elaborate plans to kill hundreds of innocent people to show his support for the terrorist organization, ISIL,” said Special Agent in Charge Strong.
“During the course of our investigation evidence was uncovered linking Sullivan to John Bailey Clark’s murder six months earlier. Any loss of life is tragic; due to the work of the FBI and our law enforcement partners, other planned attacks were thwarted preventing more violence.”
According to the indictment, Sullivan watched violent ISIL attacks on the Internet, such as beheadings, after converting to Islam.
The indictment alleges that Sullivan openly expressed support for ISIL in his home and destroyed religious items that belonged to his parents.
The indictment also alleges he attempted to provide material support to ISIL by planning terrorists attacks and discussed those plans on social media with an undercover FBI employee (UCE), who Sullivan attempted to recruit to join in such attacks.
Sullivan told the UCE via social media that it was better to remain in the United States to support ISIL than to travel.
Sullivan suggested that the UCE obtain weapons and said that he was planning to buy a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle at an upcoming gun show in Hickory, NC, according to the indictment.
The indictment alleges that Sullivan had researched on the Internet how to manufacture firearm silencers and asked the undercover employee to build functional silencers that they could use to carry out the planned attacks.
Sullivan told the UCE he planned to carry out his attack in the following few days at a concert, bar or club, where he believed as many as 1,000 people would be killed using the assault rifle and silencer according to the release.
According to allegations in the indictment, on or about June 19, 2015, the silencer, which was built according to Sullivan’s instructions, was delivered to him at his home in North Carolina, where Sullivan’s mother opened the package.
The report says Sullivan took the silencer from his mother and hid it in a crawl space under his house.
When Sullivan’s parents questioned him about the silencer, Sullivan offered to compensate the UCE to kill them, because he believed his parents would interfere with his plans to carry out an attack, according to the report.
On June 19, 2015, Sullivan was arrested at his parents’ home, where law enforcement also executed a search for the silencer and other items.
The indictment says law enforcement interviewed Sullivan on separate occasions and that Sullivan made false statements about the weapons he had and his involvement in the murder of his neighbor, John Bailey Clark, 74.
Sullivan admitted that he had stolen the rifle from his father’s gun cabinet and hid it in the crawl space, according to prosecutors.
The report says forensic testing shows that the .22 rifle hidden by Sullivan was used to murder Clark.
The District Attorney’s Office for North Carolina’s 25th Prosecutorial District, which includes Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties, is handling North Carolina’s prosecution of Sullivan for Clark’s murder.
Sullivan is currently in federal custody and has waived arrangement on the federal charges. Trial is set for Feb. 22, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger of the
Western District of North Carolina.
The charge of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign organization carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The charge of receiving a silencer in interstate commerce with intent to commit a felony carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The charge of receipt and possession of an unregistered firearm carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
The charge of possession, concealment and storage of a stolen firearm carries a maximum prison term of 10 years and a $250,000 fine. The charge of using interstate facilities in the attempted commission of a murder-for-hire carries a maximum prison term of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count of making a false statement to an agency of the United States carries a maximum prison term of up to eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine.