New charges and a new federal indictment against an Everett man charged with supporting ISIS, or ISIL, show that he allegedly communicated directly with members of the terror group in Syria in 2015 – including a well-known ISIS leader who was killed in a 2015 Syrian airstrike.
David Daoud Wright, a/k/a Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, a/k/a Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, 26, of Everett and a graduate of Chelsea High, was charged last week in a five-count second superseding indictment. This indictment added one additional obstruction of justice count in connection with Wright’s deletion of data on his laptop computer on June 2, 2015, and it also revealed allegations that Wright was in direct contact with ISIS leaders on the battlefields in Syria.
This indictment supersedes the April 2016 first superseding indictment, which charged Wright and his co-conspirator Nicholas Alexander Rovinski with conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and committing acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries. The indictment also charged Wright with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice in connection with Wright’s instructions to his uncle, Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, during a telephone conversation at 5:19 a.m. on June 2, 2015 to destroy his (Rahim’s) laptop computer and phone before attacking the “boys in blue.”
The new charge alleges that within minutes of learning from a family member that his uncle, Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, had attempted to attack a police officer and was shot dead by law enforcement officers in a Roslindale parking lot on June 2, 2015, Wright deleted data from his laptop computer by restoring it to factory settings and deleting call logs on his cellphone that showed he had spoken to Rahim that morning.
Beginning in at least February 2015, Wright allegedly began discussing ISIL’s call to kill non-believers in the United States with Rahim and Rovinski and they began plotting and recruiting members for their “martyrdom” operation.
In March 2015, Wright drafted organizational documents for a “Martyrdom Operations Cell” and conducted internet search queries about firearms, the effectiveness of tranquilizers on human subjects and the establishment of secret militias in the United States. Simultaneously, Rahim was communicating with ISIL members overseas, including Junaid Hussain.
On Aug. 24, 2015, Hussain was killed in an airstrike in Raqqah, Syria.
It is further alleged that beginning in or about May 2015, Hussain communicated directly with Rahim. Rahim in turn communicated Hussain’s instructions to Wright, with regard to the murder of an individual residing in New York.
That person is widely believed to have been Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) that is critical of Islam.
Wright, Rovinski and Rahim each allegedly conspired to commit attacks and kill persons inside the United States on behalf of ISIL. In preparation for their attack, Rovinski conducted research on weapons that could be used to behead their victims. While detained pending trial, Rovinski sought to continue their planned attacks and wrote letters to Wright from prison discussing ways to take down the U.S. government and decapitate non-believers.
On Sept. 22, 2016, Rovinski pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to ISIL and conspiring to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries. He therefore is not charged in the second superseding indictment with Wright.
Wright’s arraignment is set for February 28 at 10 a.m.
The charge of conspiracy to provide material support provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a lifetime term of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of obstruction of justice provides for a sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The charge of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries provides for a sentence of life in prison, a lifetime supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This investigation is being conducted by the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and the Rhode Island JTTF with critical assistance from the Boston Police Department; Boston Regional Intelligence Center; Massachusetts State Police; Commonwealth Fusion Center; Everett Police Department; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; Rhode Island State Police; Warwick, Rhode Island, Police Department; Rhode Island Fusion Center; Naval Criminal Investigative Service; and member agencies of the JTTF.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney B. Stephanie Siegmann of the District of Massachusetts’s National Security Unit and Trial Attorney Greg R. Gonzalez of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.