On Thursday, a Florida man who had pledged help to ISIS was sentenced to 20 years in jail for importing a video he believed would assist the terrorist group makes bombs, the federal authorities mentioned on Thursday.
The Justice Department said in a press release, citing court documents, that 32-year-old Romeo Xavier Langhorne pledged his allegiance to the Islamic terrorist organization in 2014 and engaged in online activity supportive of the group — including posting support on social media, participating in ISIS chat rooms and sharing ISIS-produced videos on YouTube — in 2018 and 2019.
Here’s what the Justice Department said in a press release:
“In December 2018 and January 2019, Langhorne expressed in one of those chat rooms an interest in creating a video that would improve on existing videos demonstrating the making and use of a deadly explosive, triacetone triperoxide (TATP).”
In February 2019, Langhorne began communicating with an undercover FBI employee, the US Investigative Police, posing as someone working for the Islamic State. He told the agent about his plans to create an instructional video on making triacetone triperoxide bombs and sought the fed’s help to make it.
The press release further explained:
“Langhorne told the UCE that, in order to ensure that the video was not removed from the internet by service providers, it should include disclaimers advising that it was intended for educational purposes. However, Langhorne informed the UCE that his true purpose in making and distributing the video was to arm ISIS adherents and others with knowledge of how to make TATP and use it for terrorism-related purposes in support of ISIS.”
Over the summer of 2019, the man continued messaging the agent and wanted help creating Islamic music and the video with a recording of a member of ISIS yelling “Allahu Akbar” while breaking out of prison, as well as a clip of children saying, “kill them all.” He said that he wanted the recording “to encourage justified retaliation” against the United States for killing Muslims.
The FBI created a video that matched Langhorne’s requests but featured a chemical formula that would not create an explosion unbeknownst to him. After the video was sent, Langhorne uploaded it to the internet, officials said.
Langhorne was arrested at his home in Roanoke, Virginia on November 15, 2019, where he admitted to uploading the video.
FBI Jacksonville Special Agent in Charge Sherri E. Onks said in a press release:
“The willingness of this dangerous individual to go to great lengths to harm innocent Americans was always very real. But through hard work and determination, the FBI Jacksonville Joint Terrorism Task Force successfully disrupted his plan early on, and averted a threat to the safety of our community. Moving forward, we remain as vigilant as ever in our efforts to protect the public from others who support terrorist organizations, and we encourage the public to help us by reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement.”
Following the 20-year sentence, he will be subject to 15 years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg stated:
“Due to the outstanding cooperation and coordination by our law enforcement partners, great harm to our community was prevented. I applaud the diligence of those who worked expeditiously to disrupt this threat to our public’s safety.”