At A Glance | June 17

South Carolina Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Trying to Join ISIS

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A Ladson, South Carolina, man who sought to join and fight for ISIS received 20 years in prison on June 10. Zakaryia Abdin (pictured), 20, communicated for approximately two months with an undercover FBI agent he believed was a member of the terrorist group with the hope of traveling overseas. Despite being told that it is illegal to aid foreign terrorist organizations in a meeting with a special agent from the Joint Terrorism Task Force in January 2017, Abdin sought assistance to join ISIS. He connected with the undercover agent and sent a video pledging his loyalty to ISIS’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and desire to “wage jihad against the enemy of Allah.” He also told the undercover agent that he also pledged allegiance in 2014 and wanted to serve in combat with the group. He purchased firearms, including a rifle he modified for use with a high-capacity magazine, and practiced at a gun store and outdoor range. Once Abdin received a passport on March 22, 2017, he reserved a flight to Jordan from Charleston International Airport. About a week later, authorities arrested him as he tried boarding. Abdin faces a lifetime of supervision after his release.


Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Making Threatening Calls to Members of Congress

A Tamarac, Florida, man faces up to five years in prison after he admitted leaving threatening voicemails for three Democratic members of Congress, including US Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. John Kless, 49, pleaded guilty in federal court on June 11 to transmitting threats through interstate commerce in connection with the calls that included racist remarks and threats to kill. On April 16, Kless called Representative Eric Swalwell of California and said he would be dead “the day you come after our guns.” He then left a voicemail message at the office of Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who he threatened to throw off the Empire State Building. Kless referred to her and Representative Ilhan Omar, a fellow Muslim, of Minnesota as “Taliban” and said millions of people hate them for the attacks on September 11, 2001. In his final call to Booker’s office, Kless called the senator a “disgrace” and said, “Don’t you worry. You government officials will be in graves.” Authorities traced the phone number to an account belonging to Kless’ wife. His sentencing is scheduled for August 20.


Tennessee Man Charged After Explosive Devices Discovered in Ditch and Near Residence

Authorities arrested a 29-year-old Manchester, Tennessee, man after two homemade explosive devices were found near an intersection, as well as two more in his home. Justin McCart, 29, faces four counts of possessing a prohibited weapon after being taken into custody on June 12. Two inmates in a work program found the first bomb in a ditch while mowing near the intersection. A supervisor contacted police, according to Manchester Police Department Chief Investigator Jackie Matheny, who noted the device was active and could have exploded. Officers discovered another active explosive device about 30-45 yards away in front of a residence, and they also found two additional bombs and bomb-making components during a search of McCart’s home. The devices were made from metal piping and appeared to be homemade, according to authorities. Police said McCart confessed to throwing the two bombs near the intersection to “scare his girlfriend.”


For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Intelligence Management Bureau at outreach@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.