For the third time in under a week, the U.S. justice department has arrested an American for supporting the terrorist group ISIS, this time In North Carolina. Justin Nojan Sullivan was charged on Friday with a plot involving violence in support of an Islamic extremist group. His plans involved the purchase of a semiautomatic rifle, which he would have used to kill Americans.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of North Carolina said the 19-year-old from Morganton, North Carolina, was arrested Friday and appeared in Charlotte’s federal court at noon. He is charged with trying to distribute materials support the Islamic State, and two counts of weapons charges.
Sullivan said he was a Muslim convert. He was pursued by the FBI when his father called the local authorities to report that his son was behaving erratically, destroying Buddhist objects in their home, and apparently inspired by Islamic-State ideals. The family reportedly feared for their lives.
According to the complaint, Sullivan also attempted to conspire with an undercover FBI agent in order to buy the rifle at a gun show. He is reported to have said, "the war is here.” He also asked the agent to send him a homemade silencer so he could perform, "minor assassinations before the big attack for training," and then make and send a video to the Islamic State. Prosecutors said he received the silencer in the mail prior to being arrested.
This is one occurrence among many; several young men have been apprehended in the U.S. recently, all supporting the Islamic State, and planning single attacks.
Sullivan’s arrest follows those of two Boston men, who pleaded not guilty to planning a beheading of police officers, and yet another man was apprehended in Ohio for trying to distribute materials supporting the Islamic State.
Federal agents say they are investigating similar issues all over the U.S. and that these investigations are regular and ongoing. The agency is specifically targeting those using social media or other online resources to provide aid, whether weapons or financing or any other form of support.
The FBI has confirmed that many more arrests are imminent.