Sheffield Lake man pleads guilty to ISIL support

Posted at 3:43 PM, Mar 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-16 15:51:40-04

A Sheffield Lake man pleaded guilty to providing material support to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as well as firearms violations, the U.S. Department of Justice reported on Wednesday.

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

Al-Ghazi 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 Carole S. 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 Stephen 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.”

The DOJ said Al-Ghazi, who changed his name last year, pledged his support to ISIL and Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi through social media in 2014. From July 2014 to June 2015, Al-Ghazi made multiple statements attempting to persuade others to join ISIL. 

Al-Ghazi also expressed his own desire to attack the United States and attempted to buy an AK-47 assault rifle, the DOJ reported. 

According to court documents, Al-Ghazi communicated with individuals he believed to be members of ISIL in the Middle East and took steps to create propaganda videos for ISIL.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Rendon, of the Northern District of Ohio, and Anthony of the FBI’s Cleveland Division made the announcement.