A Houston man was sentenced today to 165 months, the equivalent of 13 years and nine months, in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release for attempting to provide material support to Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
According to court documents, Kaan Sercan Damlarkaya, 23, attempted to join and support ISIS from August 2017 until his arrest in December 2017. He pleaded guilty July 8, 2019. In addition to wanting to join ISIS, Damlarkaya also provided information to ISIS supporters about the use of machetes, homemade construction of an automatic weapon and how to build and use explosive materials.
As part of his plans to join ISIS overseas, starting in approximately early August 2017, Damlarkaya had numerous conversations online with many individuals he believed to be fellow ISIS supporters. During these discussions, he described his intentions to travel overseas to fight for ISIS in Syria or Afghanistan. Damlarkaya added that if he was unsuccessful in joining ISIS overseas, he would conduct an on attack on non-Muslims in the United States and that it was his “dream” to be a martyr.
Damalarkaya also provided information to other ISIS supporters, on at least two separate occasions, about ways to manufacture a bomb. Specifically, he described how to make explosives formula using triacetone triperoxide and cautioned the others to “take safety seriously while you make this” to be “useful until you can strike.”
Damlarkaya further illustrated to ISIS supporters ways to construct an automatic weapon. He claimed he could buy a “GIANT machete for $15” and stated “a lot of us are poor… or we don’t have experience. So not all of us can get a gun or make explosives, but we can afford to buy a $15 knife.” He claimed he slept with a machete under his pillow ready to use if law enforcement raided his house.
When agents arrested Damlarkaya, they executed a search warrant at his residence and found a machete by his bed.
He will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani for the Southern District of Texas and Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division made the announcement.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated the case.