Sheffield Lake Man Pleads Guilty to Providing Support to ISIL and Firearms Violations

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A Sheffield Lake man pleaded guilty to providing material support to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as well as firearms violations.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Acting U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon of the Northern District of Ohio and Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony of the FBI’s Cleveland Division made the announcement.

Amir Said Rahman Al-Ghazi, 39, also known as Robert C. McCollum, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 23.

“This case is a stark reminder that ISIL does not present an abstract threat,” Acting U.S. Attorney Rendon said. “Through social media and other means, ISIL and groups like it seek to radicalize people of all backgrounds into its world of violence.”

“This case demonstrates law enforcement’s number one priority — to keep our communities and our nation safe,” said Special Agent in Charge Anthony.  “It is clear that no area is immune from the influence of ISIL and its supporters.  We hope this case will serve as a strong message to others who may consider providing support to terrorists.  The FBI and our Joint Terrorism Task Force partners are committed to identifying and stopping these individuals.”

Al-Ghazi, who changed his name from Robert McCollum last year, pledged his support to ISIL and Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi via social media in 2014.  From July 2014 to June 2015, Al-Ghazi made multiple statements trying to persuade others to join ISIL.  He also expressed his own desire to perpetrate an attack on the United States and had attempted to purchase an AK-47 assault rifle.  Al-Ghazi has communicated with individuals he believed to be members of ISIL in the Middle East and took steps to create propaganda videos for ISIL, according to court documents.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew W. Shepherd and Christos N. Georgalis following an investigation by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

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