[box type=”default” size=”large”] Also charged with trying to provide material support for ISIL [/box]
CHICAGO – When 19-year-old Justin Nojan Sullivan started “destroying Buddhas and figurines and stuff” on April 21, 2015, his father called 9-1-1 to request police assistance in their family residence in Morganton, North Carolina.
Since then, an Federal Bureau of Investigation undercover agent had been tailing Sullivan.
On June 29, 2015, Sullivan was charged in court with one count of transporting and receiving a silencer in interstate commerce with intent to commit a felony and one count of receipt and possession of an unregistered silencer. Sullivan was arrested in his home on June 19, 2015.
Sullivan, who was reported by newspapers in Burke County, North Carolina to have a Filipino mother, was accused in a 13-page complaint of planning assassinations in the United States and is charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and federal firearms violations,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Acting U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose of the Western District of North Carolina and Special Agent in Charge John A. Strong of the FBI’s Charlotte, North Carolina, Division.
His father said that when he made the frantic call to 9-1-1, “I don’t know if it is ISIS or what, but he (Sullivan) is destroying Buddhas and figurines and stuff” and had poured gasoline on some objects to burn them. Sullivan could be heard in the background, saying, “Why are you trying to say I am a terrorist?”
“The National Security Division’s highest priority is counterterrorism and we will continue to pursue justice against those who seek to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.
“Sullivan is charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIL, a designated terrorist organization that poses a serious threat to our country’s security,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Rose. “My highest priority is to detect and prosecute violent extremists and protect innocent Americans from terrorist attacks.”
“Justin Sullivan intended to commit violent acts against innocent people in the U.S. to support the terrorist organization, ISIL,” said Special Agent in Charge Strong. “As demonstrated in this case, federal, state and local law enforcement will work tirelessly to protect our communities from those who plot to carry out terrorist activities of any kind.”
It was alleged in the complaint that the FBI became aware of Sullivan’s plans to obtain a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle at the Hickory Gun Show in Hickory, North Carolina on June 20, 2015. FBI said he planned to use to kill a large number of U.S. citizens on behalf of ISIL. The complaint also stated Sullivan “has referred to his desire to kill as many as 1,000 people.”
Sullivan could be described as a “lone wolf” as he apparently acted alone.
It was stated in the criminal complaint that an FBI undercover employee (UC) had made contact with Sullivan beginning or about June 6, 2015 during which Sullivan described himself as “a mujahid” (Muslim guerrilla) and as a Muslim convert living in eastern United States.
Sullivan also told the UC that “the war is here,” and gave the UC the opportunity to join what he called the Islamic State of North America, whose “doctrine is guerrilla warfare in and out,” it was alleged.
The complaint further alleged that over the next few days and during various conversations, Sullivan discussed with the UC, among other things, his various terrorist attack concepts and instructed the UC how to obtain weapons, specifically “an AR-15 .223 with split ammo” at a gun show.
On or about June 9, 2015, Sullivan discussed with the UC the possibility of making homemade silencers and asked the UC whether he would be able to make one. When the UC said that he thought he could, Sullivan told him “I’ll need to have one built by next week.” The complaint alleges that Sullivan also told the UC “Yeah ill let u mail me…I plan on using it this mont[h],” and that Sullivan planned on doing “minor assassinations before the big attack for training.” He also told that UC that “we are going to send a video to ISIL.”
Sullivan also told the UC again that he would need the suppressor (silencer) “before the end of next week” apparently referring to June 19, 2015.
On June 19, 2015, FBI operatives supported by personnel of the Hickory, North Carolina, Police Department, the Burke County, North Carolina, Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, arrested Sullivan in his home and found the silencer Sullivan had earlier received on that day.
Sullivan is currently in federal custody.