Bookmark this page on your mobile

QR Code image

What is this?

Daily Court Reporter - News Ohio man charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS, attempting to commit a hate crime and possessing firearms for plot to attack Toledo-area synagogue

 

Ohio man charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS, attempting to commit a hate crime and possessing firearms for plot to attack Toledo-area synagogue

A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging an Ohio man with attempting to provide material support to ISIS, attempting to commit a hate crime, and possessing firearms in furtherance of a crime a violence stemming from his plan to attack in a synagogue in the Toledo area.

Damon M. Joseph, 21, also known as Abdullah Ali Yusuf, of Holland, Ohio, was arrested in December after he took possession of two semi-automatic rifles.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division, U.S Attorney Justin E. Herdman for the Northern District of Ohio and Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Hughes of the FBI’s Cleveland Division.

“This man allegedly spent months planning a violent terrorist attack on behalf of ISIS here in the United States, and targeted a Jewish synagogue in the Toledo area specifically because of the faith of the people who worship there,” said U.S. Attorney Herdman. “We will work to identify and arrest anyone who take steps to use violence to spread their ideology and to interfere with the free exercise of our essential rights.”

“In a matter of months, Damon Joseph allegedly progressed from radicalized, virtual jihadist to attack planner,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Hughes. “He ultimately decided to target two Toledo-area synagogues for a mass-casualty attack in the name of ISIS. Joseph will now be accountable in a court of law for his pursuit of a violent act of terrorism upon our fellow citizens attending their desired house of worship.”

According to documents filed in court, Joseph drew the attention of law enforcement in 2018 by posting photographs of weapons and various messages in support of ISIS on his social media accounts, as well as a photograph originally distributed by the media wing of ISIS. This activity led to multiple interactions between Joseph and undercover FBI agents.

During his communication with undercover agents, Joseph stated his support for ISIS and produced propaganda in support of ISIS recruitment. In September, Joseph made videos that he sent to the undercover agent, hoping they would be used to recruit people to ISIS. He also complained that the mosque he attended was critical of ISIS.

Joseph stated his support for violent attacks and operations. For example, on Oct. 21, 2018,Joseph expressed support for “martyrdom operations” and stated: “what must be done, must be done” and “there are always casualties of war.”

On Oct. 30, Joseph and the undercover communicated regarding the mass shooting at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh. Joseph stated: “I admire what the guy did with the shooting actually.” He added: “I can see myself carrying out this type of operation inshallah. They wouldn[’]t even expect [an attack] in my area...”

Over the next few weeks, Joseph continued stating he wanted to participate in an attack on behalf of ISIS. On Dec. 2 he forwarded a document that laid out his plans for an attack, using the name “Abdullah Ali Yusuf” for himself. In the document, he described plans to attack where the greatest number of people are gathered, inflict the most casualties during the attack and make sure no one escaped.

Joseph then stated that he did not see this necessarily as “a martyrdom operation” as his plan accounted for an escape and potential combat with law enforcement.

On Dec. 4, Joseph stated he was deciding between two synagogues in the area to attack. He stated the choice would depend on “Which one will have [the] most people, what time and what day. Go big or go home.”

The next day, Joseph met with an undercover FBI agent and discussed conducting a mass shooting at a synagogue. Joseph identified two synagogues he viewed as targets in the greater Toledo area, and discussed the types of weapons he believed would be able to inflict mass casualties.

Joseph made written notes about the firearms he wanted and provided them to the undercover agent, stating he wanted AR 15s, AK 47s, Glocks and ammunition.

On Dec. 6, Joseph met with an undercover agent in the Toledo area and stated it would be ideal to attack two synagogues, but that it was probably more realistic to only attack one. Joseph also stated specifically that he wanted to kill a rabbi.

Also on Dec. 6, Joseph wrote the name and address of the synagogue where the attack was to occur. Joseph stated he had conducted research to determine when the Jewish sabbath was so that more people would be present. Joseph pulled up photographs of the inside of the synagogue and said he wanted the attack to begin in the sanctuary. Joseph told the undercover agent that he would hide two semi-automatic rifles at his house once the undercover purchased them.

Later that day, the undercover agent told Joseph that he purchased rifles for the attack. The two met on Dec. 7 at a predetermined location and Joseph took a black duffel bag containing two semi-automatic rifles, which had been rendered inoperable by law enforcement officers so that they posed no danger to the public. Joseph was then arrested.

An indictment is only a charge, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is comprised of members of the FBI, Homeland Security and Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Ohio State Highway Patrol and Toledo Police Department, is leading the ongoing investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Baeppler of the Northern District of Ohio, Trial Attorneys Josh Champagne and Kyle Phillips of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, and Trial Attorney Dana Mulhauser of the Civil Rights Division.

About the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio

The Department of Justice is the nation's litigator, serving but one client, the United States. The United States Attorneys serve as the Department's principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. There are 93 United States Attorneys stationed in judicial districts throughout the United States and its territories. United States Attorneys are appointed by, and serve at the discretion of the President of the United States, with advice and consent of the United States Senate. Each United States Attorney is the Chief Federal Law Enforcement Officer of the United States within his or her particular jurisdiction.

United States Attorneys conduct most of the trial work in which the United States is a party. The United States Attorneys have three statutory responsibilities under Title 28, Section 507 of the United States Code:

the prosecution of criminal cases brought by the Federal Government;

the prosecution and defense of civil cases in which the United States is a party; and

the collection of debt owed to the Federal Government.

Although the caseload varies among districts, each has every category of cases and handles a mixture of simple and complex litigation. Each United States Attorney exercises wide discretion in the use of his or her resources to further the priorities of the local jurisdictions and needs of their communities.

The Northern District of Ohio consists of the 40 northern counties in Ohio. The U.S. Attorney's office (USAO) for the district is located in Cleveland, Ohio and there are staffed branch offices in Toledo, Akron and Youngstown. The office is divided into organizational units with specific responsibility for carrying out the mission of the office.

Date Published: February 18, 2019

 

The United States Attorneys Office Northern District of Ohio

 

United States and international law enforcement dismantle online organized crime ring operating out of Romania that victimized thousands of U.S. residents

Twelve foreign nationals extradited to the United States

State's highway budget shortfall has Ohio farmers concerned

As the nascent 133rd General Assembly of the Ohio Legislature begins meeting in regular sessions this month, the Ohio Farm Bureau has announced the legislative priorities its members have determined will make the difference in a successful year in agriculture.

Board of Professional Conduct issues 2018 annual report

The Ohio Board of Professional Conduct has issued its 2018 annual report, highlighting the disposition of 83 disciplinary cases, a 30 percent reduction in pending caseload, and continued education and outreach efforts.

ABA partners with Tennessee group on film to raise awareness

The American Bar Association, and its Death Penalty Due Process Review Project, has partnered with the Tennessee Alliance for the Severe Mental Illness Exclusion (TASMIE), on production of a film titled “Too Ill to Execute,” detailing a movement to exclude those with severe mental illness from the death penalty.

Six people indicted for their roles in $48 million health care fraud conspiracy at drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers in Austintown and Whitehall

Six people from Ohio were indicted in federal court for their roles in a health care fraud conspiracy in which Medicaid was billed $48 million for drug and alcohol recovery services which were not provided, not medically necessary, lacked proper documentation, or had other issues that made them ineligible for reimbursement.

ODNR Division of Forestry expands wildfire protection area

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is pleased to announce the expansion of the ODNR Division of Forestry’s Forest Fire Protection Area. The expanded area includes all parts of the following counties: Adams, Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Columbiana, Coshocton, Fairfield, Fulton, Gallia, Geauga, Guernsey, Harrison, Henry, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Licking, Lucas, Knox, Meigs, Mahoning, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Portage, Richland, Ross, Scioto, Stark, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Vinton and Washington.

UT research looks at fiber as a trigger and cure for inflammatory bowel disease

New research from The University of Toledo’s College of Medicine and Life Sciences may give patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease a better roadmap for managing their symptoms by changing the type of fiber they eat during flare-ups.

How a cash-out refinancing loan can turn into a costly mistake

(BPT) After years of making regular mortgage payments, it feels good to watch your net worth make upward progress. That's especially true if your house is also gaining value. With a growing amount of equity comes peace of mind, knowing you have the option of tapping into it when you want.

Texas couple sentenced to prison; they were the most prolific dark net fentanyl vendor in the world at the time of their arrest last year

A San Antonio couple that was the most prolific dark net fentanyl vendor in the world at the time of their arrest last year have been sentenced to prison.

Ohio hunters Harvest more than 172,000 Deer during 2018-2019 season

Hunters checked 172,040 white-tailed deer throughout Ohio’s 2018-2019 deer season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Last year, 186,247 deer were checked during the 2017-2018 season.

ABA TECHSHOW2019 to showcase latest in technology for the legal industry

Elizabeth “Betsy” Ziegler, the first female CEO of 1871, the No. 1 ranked tech incubator in the world, will be the keynote speaker at the American Bar Association ABA TECHSHOW2019 to be held Feb. 27-March 2 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Ziegler will speak from 1-2 p.m. on Friday, March 1.

Tackling the high cost of student loan debt

(StatePoint) There’s no way around it: Americans are drowning in student loan debt, collectively owing $1.5 trillion. Rising college costs mean that number isn’t likely to drop much in the next few decades.

'Launch into Law' bridge to the profession program prepares students for the law school application process and experience

The University of Toledo College of Law piloted the 'Launch into Law' bridge to the profession program this spring to increase the number of historically underrepresented students enrolled in law school. The free, weeklong program took place Jan. 7-11, 2019.

Home health care provider sentenced for fraud

The co-owner of Alpha Star Health Care Inc. was sentenced recently in federal court to 18 months in prison for running home health care fraud and tax fraud schemes.

ABA President Carlson defends judiciary, touts lawyer wellness

ABA President Bob Carlson gave a robust defense of the nation’s judiciary to House delegates on Jan. 28 when he said, “we can never stop defending our nation’s courts.”

6 tips for reducing your out-of-pocket medication costs

(BPT) When you're sick, the last thing that you want to worry about is how you're going to pay for your critical medical treatment. Even if you have health insurance, you may find that the prescription drugs you need the most are out of reach due to high out-of-pocket costs - the deductibles, copays or coinsurance that are not reimbursed by insurance. Many people find themselves choosing between paying bills and buying essential prescription medications.

Twelve people indicted for conspiracy to obtain large amounts of cocaine

Twelve people from Mahoning County were indicted for their roles in a conspiracy to obtain large amounts of cocaine, which they sold in and around Youngstown.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice gets award for campaign against Issue 1

A leading force in defeating a measure that would have changed the Ohio Constitution received an award for her efforts last fall against Issue 1.

How to recognize and avoid college scholarship scams

(StatePoint) Average college costs have doubled in the last two decades, and this financial pressure along with new technologies makes today’s students particularly vulnerable to financial aid and scholarship scams.

Man sentenced to 15 years in prison for trying to recruit people to launch attacks on behalf of ISIS

Erick Jamal Hendricks, 38, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).