Orange County Man Gets 15 Years In Prison For Trying To Join ISIS
A 22-year old Orange man has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for trying to join the Islamic State.
According to prosecutors Adam Dandach was set to go to Syria and fight alongside the terrorist organization. Those plans came to a halt when Dandach was detained in 2014 at John Wayne Airport by the FBI. The Orange County native admitted to federal agents that his goal was to go overseas to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, and to undergo weapons training, reports the OC Register.
On Monday Dandach was handed a 15-year sentence for his attempt to support the terrorist organization, reports the L.A. Times. Upon release, he will be under supervision for the rest of his life.
According to court documents, Dandach had bought a plane ticket to Istanbul, the capital of Turkey, which borders Syria. He'd purchased the ticket using an illegally-obtained passport. His mother had taken his old passport to keep him from traveling, but he'd managed to get a new one by lying. Prosecutors said that Dandach had been planning for over a year to join ISIS. They claimed that he had done research on jihad and had received advice on how to get easier access into Syria by pretending he was part of a charity. After his arrest, he was also alleged to have made a recording telling family members to destroy all evidence that would incriminate him, reports the OC Weekly.
Dandach's defense team said that their client had been treated for a number of mental disorders, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder that stemmed from an abusive childhood.
Dandach's case is far from being an isolated one. According to NBC News, roughly 250 Americans have tried to join ISIS since the advent of the group. Most of them didn't even get as far as leaving the States, but at least 15 American citizens are documented as having gone overseas to make contact with the organization. Just this Friday, 3 men in West Palm Beach, Florida, were charged with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, reports ABC 10. One of the suspects had told an FBI informant that his intention was to engage in a "violent jihad."
Earlier this July, Levi Shirley, a 24-year-old American who'd joined a Kurdish rebel group to fight ISIS, was killed in combat, according to ABC News.