Alleged ISIS Sympathizer Charged in U.S.A.
(CN) - A felon described as a sympathizer of the ISIS terrorist group is facing illegal gun possession charges in North Carolina after being arrested at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Donald Ray Morgan was arrested on Aug. 2, after he arrived in New York on a Delta Airlines flight from Frankfurt, Germany.
He was returning to the United States after an 8-month stay in Lebanon, where his wife lives.
According to court documents, a grand jury empanelled in Greensboro, N.C. returned a one-count indictment on May 27, charging Morgan with unlawful possession of firearm by a convicted felon. A warrant was issued for his arrest on May 28.
But from the start there was more to Morgan's arrest than an outstanding warrant.
According to the New York Daily News, Morgan operated a Twitter account that came to the attention of the FBI after he pledged his allegiance to ISIS, which is fighting to establish an Islamic extremist state in parts of Syria and Iraq.
In one tweet, which has since gone viral, Morgan, using the alias Abu Omar al Amreeki, allegedly stated: "Allah you brought me here and I need the rest of my journey to join the ranks with the most beautiful brothers on Earth."
Though the court documents make no mention of the ISIS connection, the Daily News quotes Nadia Moore, an assistant U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, as telling the court that "it's possible that he traffics in guns to people in this organization (ISIS)."
Morgan's court-appointed public defender Peter Kirchheimer responded by arguing there was no evidence to prove that Morgan was either a member of ISIS or had provided the group with material support.
But U.S. Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes Jr. sided with federal prosecutors, saying Moore's tweets suggested that Moore is "trying to go to Syria or Iraq as the next step and trying to be actively engaged," The News reported.
Reyes ordered Moore held without bail, and at a subsequent hearing approved his removal to North Carolina.
Randy Tysinger, the spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of North Carolina declined to comment today on any connection Morgan may or may not have with ISIS, saying it would be "inappropriate to comment on an ongoing case."
Moore pleaded not guilty to all charges.