TAMPA, Fla. – A judge sentenced a 26-year-old Tampa man to 18 years in federal prison for aiding a foreign terrorist organization, according to a Department of Justice press release.
Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari was under FBI investigation beginning in December of 2018 for allegedly providing support to ISIS, which is recognized as a foreign terrorist organization under federal law, court documents revealed.
Agents arrested Al-Azhari after engaging with a confidential human source (CHS) from which he obtained a gun and silencer in 2020.
Al-Azhari began planning to carry out an attack in support of ISIS, researching potential locations for an attack in the Tampa Bay area. He then began to acquire multiple firearms in April 2020, according to the DOJ.
Al- Azhari spoke of avenging the United States’ imprisonment of Muslims, including ISIS fighters, and the United States’ military actions in the Middle East, rehearsed parts of his plans, including practicing statements that he would make during or in connection with his intention to support ISIS, according to the press release.
Al-Azhari had multiple recorded interactions with an FBI undercover employee (UCE) and a CHS in April and May 2020, according to the press release.
He then attempted to buy firearms from the UCE and met with the CHS, and tried to “convert” the CHS to Islam, according to the DOJ.
He also confided in the CHS about Al-Azhari’s affiliation with ISIS and his plans to provide material support to ISIS.
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