The Department of Justice unsealed a charge against Bernard Augustine (21) of Keyes, California, for alleged attempts to provide material support to the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS or ISIL). Augustine made an initial appearance on Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, in the court of U.S. Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue for the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Office and Commissioner James P. O'Neill of the NYPD announced the charges. The defendant is scheduled to make his initial appearance today at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York before U.S. Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon.
The government alleges that Augustine traveled to Tunisia in February 2016, where he attempted onward travel to ISIS-controlled territory in Libya. However, Augustine was arrested in Tunisia before he was able to travel into Libya.
Before leaving America, Augustine repeatedly expressed support for ISIS and for individuals who provided support to the foreign terrorist organization’s mission of violent extremism. According to a press release by the Department of Justice, federal agents obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s laptop computer in March 2016. On the laptop, federal agents found evidence that, in the months prior to his departure, Augustine had viewed numerous videos that depicted ISIS leaders and fighters, including fighters engaged in acts of violence.
The government also found evidence on the laptop that, during the same period, Augustine viewed videos depicting well-known public who expressed support of ISIS and violent acts against Westerners, including, among others, Osama Bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki. The defendant’s Internet search history information revealed that he had also actively searched for information on ISIS, how to join ISIS, radical jihadist propaganda, and firearms. Finally, the investigation revealed that, in the weeks leading up to his travel from the United States, the defendant made numerous postings in online forums expressing support for ISIS and violent jihad.
After Augustine completed prison time in Tunisia, he was expelled from Tunisia and turned over to the FBI. If convicted, Augustine faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.