Everett Man Sentenced for Supporting ISIS and Conspiring to Behead U.S. Citizens

An Everett man was sentenced last month to 28 years in prison for conspiring with others to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and kill persons in the United States.

David Daoud Wright, a/k/a Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, a/k/a Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, 28, of Everett, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young on Dec. 19 to 28 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. In  HYPERLINK “https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr/massachusetts-man-convicted-supporting-isis-and-conspiring-murder-us-citizens” October 2017, Wright was convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and obstruction of justice.

“Mr. Wright plotted to kill innocent Americans on behalf of ISIS,” said Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb. “Despite the fact that he was born in Massachusetts, Mr. Wright turned against his country and joined a radical terrorist organization. He became a soldier of ISIS and recruited U.S citizens to commit attacks within the United States aimed at killing civilians and police officers. Today’s sentence affirms our commitment to protecting the public and prosecuting those who pledge alliance to our enemies.”

“Today’s sentencing of David Wright finally holds him accountable for betraying his country, obstructing justice, and conspiring to support a brutally violent terrorist organization,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division. “The spread of the ISIS ideology and it’s savagery against innocents around the world, was found right here at home, by an extremely unpredictable and dangerous person who radicalized to support an imprudent call to jihad. Through the dogged efforts of the FBI and our partners within the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Joint Terrorism Task Forces, who tirelessly work day-in and day-out to identify and thwart those who pose a serious threat, we clearly showed Mr. Wright was a soldier of ISIS, and a very real threat to national security and public safety. This case truly highlights the importance of law enforcement collaboration here and around the world, and I’m grateful for the dedication of those committed to keeping the Commonwealth safe.”

Beginning in at least February 2015, Wright began discussing ISIS’ call to kill non-believers in the United States with his uncle, Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, and co-defendant Nicholas Alexander Rovinski. Specifically, Wright created a “martyrdom” operation cell in Massachusetts. In April 2015, he created a Twitter page for the “Lions of America” and published a document entitled, Internal Conquest, on the internet in which Wright called on the “Lions of Allah” to kill Americans. Wright also plotted with Rahim and Rovinski to behead U.S. citizens at the direction of ISIS, and identified a New York woman as the first beheading target.

Rahim purchased three knives for this plot.

In addition, Wright knew Rahim was communicating with an ISIS member in Syria, Junaid Hussain, who provided Rahim with an encrypted document containing details about the intended victim. In August 2015, Hussain was killed in an airstrike in Raqqah, Syria.

In preparation for their attack, Wright conducted extensive research on weapons, knives, machetes, bombing making components, and methods to subdue their victims. Wright also conducted research on “how to start a secret militia in the United States.”

On June 2, 2015, Rahim was shot and killed after he attacked law enforcement officers in a Roslindale parking lot. Two hours before Rahim attacked the police, Wright had encouraged and motivated Rahim to pursue martyrdom by attacking the “boys in blue.” Within minutes of learning of his uncle’s death from a family member, Wright deleted data from his laptop computer by restoring it to factory settings and deleted call logs on his cellphone that showed that he had spoken to Rahim that morning.

In September 2016, Rovinski pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to ISIS and conspiring to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Dec. 20, followed by a lifetime of supervised release.

Pursuant to a cooperation agreement with the government, Rovinski testified against his co-defendant, Wright, at his trial. In addition, as the government told the court, Rovinski was a follower in this ISIS attack plan, while Wright was the mastermind.

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