Man Who Formed Terrorist Group that Plotted Attacks on Military and Jewish Facilities Sentenced to 16 Years in Federal Prison
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 06, 2009|
SANTA ANA, CA—A former inmate in a California state prison who formed a domestic terrorist group that planned to attack United States military operations, “infidels,” and Israeli and Jewish facilities in the Los Angeles area was sentenced this morning to 16 years in federal prison.
Kevin James, 32, who formed the terrorist group he dubbed Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh, or JIS, while in a California state prison, was sentenced by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney.
In sentencing James, Judge Carney said, “Mr. James was the architect and mastermind of a very serious, very troubling offense.”
“The JIS terrorist group reminds us of the dangers that continue to confront our nation,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien. “Both foreign enemies and so-called homegrown terrorists have the desire to stage potentially deadly attacks on American soil. As a result of the outstanding work of the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, one imminent threat was identified and disabled.”
Last year, Judge Carney sentenced Levar Washington, who was recruited into JIS while in state prison and subsequently recruited others into the plot, to 22 years in prison. A third man involved in JIS, Gregory Patterson, was sentenced last year to 151 months in prison.
James, Washington and Patterson admitted in court that they conspired “to levy war against the government of the United States through terrorism, and to oppose by force the authority of the United States government.”
The fourth member of JIS accused in an indictment—Hammad Samana—is scheduled to go on trial on July 14 before Judge Carney.
“Kevin James, the founder of the JIS homegrown terror cell, recruited his co-conspirators from behind prison walls to target Los Angeles for terrorism,” said Salvador Hernandez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles. “This case reminds us of the evolving terror threat we face, and continues to serve as one of the finest examples of line police officers uncovering a terrorist plot and setting aside jurisdictional boundaries to work with the JTTF.”
Torrance Police Chief John J. Neu said: “This case is a prime example of front-line police officers as front-line prevention of domestic terrorism. This dangerous group was discovered by alert police officers and the teamwork between our regional law enforcement partners met this danger head-on. It is important to understand that there was nothing artificial about this group’s ability to carry-out a mass casualty attack. This case represents the effective collaboration of local, state and federal resources in the region which thwarted a tremendous threat to our citizens. We are very pleased to with today’s sentencing of Kevin James.”
After forming JIS in 1997 while in state prison, James recruited Washington into the organization in late 2004 while both were prisoners at New Folsom Prison. James required Washington swear an oath of loyalty and obedience to James and to JIS. After his release from prison several weeks after taking the JIS oath, Washington recruited Patterson and Samana into JIS and had them swear oaths of allegiance and obedience to JIS. After forming this cell, Washington and Patterson conducted about a dozen armed robberies of gas stations to obtain money for the group’s planned attacks in the Los Angeles area.
Samana researched targets and prepared a document called “Modes of Attack.” The document listed “LAX and Consulate of Zion,” “Military Targets,” “Army Recruiting centers throughout the county,” “Military base in Manhattan Beach” and “Campsite of Zion.”
After Torrance Police investigators linked Washington and Patterson to a gas station robbery, various Jihadist documents were found at a South Los Angeles apartment where they lived. In addition to the “Modes of Attack” document, investigators discovered a document titled “Notoriety Moves,” which contained a James-authored statement to be given to the media after a deadly attack. The proposed press statement reads, in part, “This incident is the first in a series of incidents to come in a plight to defend and propagate traditional Islam in its purity.” The document also warns “sincere Muslims” to avoid a series of targets, including “Those Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of an Israeli state.”
The investigation into the terrorist conspiracy was led by the FBI’s Long Beach Joint Terrorism Task Force, whose participating agencies include the Los Angeles Police Department; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the Torrance Police Department; the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; the Long Beach Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the Los Angeles Port Police; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and the Redondo Beach Police Department.
Substantial assistance during the investigation was provided by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Bureau of Investigations; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; the California Department of Justice; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations; and the Department of Defense.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office worked collaboratively with the United States Attorney’s Office during the investigation.