Prison Handcuffs Jail Inmate

SEATTLE - A 22-year-old Seattle man has been sentenced to four years in prison with 15 years of supervised release to follow for Providing Material Support to a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Elvin Hunter Bgorn Williams, of Seattle, was arrested at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in May 2021 on criminal charges related to his alleged efforts to join the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization, to engage in violent acts of terrorism in the Middle East or the United States. Williams was arrested after a lengthy investigation. 

“Mr. Williams persisted in his plans to join a terrorist organization and commit acts of violence, despite intervention from his family, his school, members of his mosque, and from the FBI,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “Indeed, he repeatedly stated his intention to commit an act of terror here at home if he could not travel overseas. Mr. Williams continues to pose a risk to the community. It will be critically important that he be closely supervised after he is released from prison.”

According to the plea agreement, in November 2020, Williams began telling family members he was a member of ISIS. Williams also posted a video on Facebook in which he swore an oath of loyalty to a leader of ISIS.

Using confidential sources close to Williams, the FBI monitored his activity and became aware of his efforts to travel to the Middle East and join ISIS. Williams expressed to his associates that if he could not travel overseas, he would commit an attack in the U.S. on behalf of ISIS. Williams began communicating with those he believed were ISIS recruiters who could get him to an ISIS terror cell in the Middle East or other parts of the world.

The plea agreement contains statements Williams made about his intentions: that he sought martyrdom, had “no problem with killing,” and hoped to be involved in beheading others.

In May 2021, Williams obtained a passport and pawned a laptop computer to raise funds for his travel. In early May 2021, Williams booked an airline ticket from Seattle to Amsterdam and on to Egypt to join ISIS. On May 28, 2021, he went to Sea-Tac Airport to catch the first leg of his international flight, but was instead arrested at the departure gate. 

In asking the court for a 15-year sentence, prosecutors wrote to the court, “Sadly, this case is far from unique. ISIS and other terrorist groups engage in the recruitment of would-be supporters using online propaganda communication tools. Far too many U.S. persons fall prey to this recruitment and attempt to travel to fight with terrorist groups overseas or seek to commit local attacks in the name of terrorist organizations.”

At a sentencing hearing held this week, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said he was imposing a sentence far below the government’s request of 15 years because of Williams’ “mental health and history of mental health difficulties.”