SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Suffolk man has been charged with trying to help the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Court documents allege 26-year-old Lionel Nelson Williams knowingly tried to “provide material support and resources” to the terrorist organization.
The documents, which were filed Thursday, cite several instances where Williams – who is also known as “Harun Ash-Shababi” – posted on social media and talked about the terror group.
The FBI was informed in March of 2016 that Williams had been posting ISIL-related videos and content about supporting the group on his Facebook page.
Williams allegedly posted that “It’s time for me to take a stand. I stand with #Dawlah.” Authorities say Dawlah is a term that means “state” in Arabic, and that members of ISIL and supporters refer to the group using this term.
An investigation found that Williams purchased an AK-47 assault rifle on Dec. 3, 2015, from an online firearms dealer – the day after a deadly shooting in San Bernardino, California. The gun was shipped to a firearms dealer in Suffolk.
Williams allegedly kept the assault rifle on a dresser in his bedroom.
On Jan. 13, 2016, a person near Williams’ home called Suffolk police reporting that they had heard gunshots during several afternoons. Police found that Williams had been doing target practice in a field near his house.
The documents also show that an undercover FBI agent made contact with Williams on Facebook in April of 2016.
In a private Facebook message, Williams is alleged to have said, “I can’t wait for the day that the black flag of Islam exists all over Maryland, D.C., Virginia, and Chicago.”
In an exchange on Oct. 30, the agent told Williams on an encrypted messaging app that they were in territory controlled by ISIL and was trying to purchase 10,000 rounds of AK-47 ammunition and 50 magazines.
Williams allegedly asked how much the ammo would cost in that territory and said that he would try to help.
Authorities say Williams also sent money and ammunition to a person he thought was helping ISIL.
Agents arrested Williams in Suffolk Wednesday, Dec. 21. A viewer sent a photo on Wednesday showing what appeared to be law enforcement at a Suffolk home.
It was since confirmed that the picture shows federal agents at Williams’ home to take him in to custody.
Williams faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.