On October 16, 2014, Akba Jihad Jordan, 22 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, planning to travel overseas “for purposes of violent jihad.” Jordan, along with his accomplice and co-defendant, Avin Marsalis Brown, were planning to fight side by side with terrorist groups in Yemen and Syria.
Brown and Jordan engaged in numerous discussions with an FBI confidential source, expressing their fervent desire to travel overseas to fight the “kuffar” (non-Muslims) and “munafiq” (Muslims considered to be hypocrites). They were willing to join groups such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), and jabhat al-Nusrah (JAN).
In preparation for their trip, Jordan was acting as a fitness guru to Brown, as well as his homegrown firearms and tactical training instructor. The duo frequently discussed the use of weapons in fighting the kuffar, both overseas and in the United States. Jordan asserted that he would not hesitate to use the weapons for this purpose, including his AK-47.
Jordan, who was living with his mother, spent the nights sleeping on a blanket in the kitchen, to be like the “brothers” overseas.
Surveillance planes reportedly circled a north Raleigh neighborhood for weeks before the raid that resulted in terrorism charges against the two men.
On March 19, 2014, Brown was arrested, before he could board an international flight. He was planning to travel from Turkey into Syria, accompanied by a member of ISIS whom he had befriended online. Brown would then assist Jordan in entering Syria from Turkey.
The pair planned to use a charity as a cover for their travels, assuring each other that the government would have a hard time making a terrorism case against them if they claimed to be on a charitable mission overseas. According to the indictment, Brown and Jordan wanted to be a part of the caliphate in Syria. They also discussed smuggling other “jihad fighters” into the region.
Brown and Jordan agreed that if they are unable to travel overseas, they may have to conduct “violent jihad” in the United States.
Jordan was also arrested on March 19, 2014. He admitted to making an appointment to obtain a passport, in order to travel to Syria. A search warrant executed at Jordan’s apartment recovered the AK-47, ammunition, a sword and other weapons. On Aug.12, 2014, Brown pleaded guilty to the indictment. Instead of joining his accomplice in Syria, Jordan recently joined Brown in pleading guilty to the same conspiracy.
Based on the government’s controversial designation in recent terrorist cases, Jordan and Brown could have argued that they were traveling to the Middle East to attend a workplace violence seminar.
The surge of Western fighters traveling to fight alongside ISIS presents an alarming trend. The group lures its recruits with reported battlefield gains, the flood of online propaganda and the promise of life inside an Islamic caliphate. Intelligence reports describe a region transformed into an “incubator for a new generation of terrorists,” with thousands of foreign fighters from many different countries. Approximately 2,500 of them are reportedly from Western nations, including the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Belgium, France and Germany.