Lackawanna man pleads guilty to attempting to give resources to terrorist organization

Posted at 2:52 PM, Jan 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-22 21:00:29-05

Arafat Nagi pleaded guilty today in federal court to a charge of attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization. 

In his plea, Nagi admitted he tried to support ISIL by personally traveling to Turkey in an effort to enter Syria and fight on behalf ISIS.

Officials handling his case stated on August 28th, 2014, a community member told the FBI that Nagi talked about violent jihad to many people in the Lackawanna community and "it was common for Nagi to get into verbal complaints over his jihadi beliefs."

The FBI's further investigation uncovered Nagi pledged allegiance ro ISIS and group leader Abu Bakr al Bagdadi. Investigators say he traveled to Turkey on twice -- in October 2012 and July 2014 -- with the intent to meet ISIS members. Before traveling  to Turkey, he bought "a large number of military combat items, including a tactical vest, army combat shirt, body armor, Shahada Flag, combat boots, backpack, burn kit, a hunting knife, machete and night vision goggles."

Once in Turkey, he purchased a SIM card, activated a Turkish cell phone number, and Facebook-messaged other people who were prepared to help Nagi enter Syria to join ISIS.

The FBI raided his Lackawanna home back in 2015. The investigation into Nagi's alleged involvement with ISIL was long and methodical and lasted several months. It began when the FBI says a grand jury subpoena connected a Yahoo e-mail account to the Lackawanna address. Nagi returned to the U.S. in September after being overseas for two months, and the FBI says his phone number was the same as the phone number used for the Yahoo account.

Lackawanna Police arrested Nagi in July 2013, on charges he threatened to kill his daughter. Police say a witness was with Nagi’s daughter when Nagi pulled up next to them and displayed a large knife. Nagi’s daughter ran inside her home and called 911. The witness told police Nagi stated he was going to shoot and behead his daughter. Nagi was charged, but it's unclear what became of those charges.

Nagi could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of attempting to provide support to ISIL in addition to a $250,000 fine.