Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Monday, June 10, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

First Police Officer Charged with Aiding ISIS Gets 15 Years

Nicholas Young, the first police officer ever charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) - Nicholas Young, the first police officer ever charged with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday.

Young , who worked for the Metro Transit Police Department in Washington, D.C., was arrested in August 2016 after a years-long investigation by the FBI.

Young was found guilty of purchasing $245 worth of calling cards and attempting to send them to ISIS operatives so they could evade surveillance by authorities when contacting each other.

Though the Fairfax, Virginia resident believed he was talking to members of the Islamic State group, he was actually talking to FBI informants and agents with the organization’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington.

“Young was told the FBI was investigating the attempt of his associate, a confidential human source, to join ISIS,” a statement from the Justice Department noted Friday. “Nevertheless, in an attempt to thwart the prosecution of the [confidential source] and himself, Young attempted to deceive investigators as to the destination and purpose of the [source’s] travel.”

The FBI first contacted Young in 2010 while investigating his acquaintance, Zachary Chesser. Chesser was later convicted of attempting to join an al-Qaeda offshoot and for threatening Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of "South Park."

While he was under surveillance, prosecutors said,  Young told undercover officers he wanted to put his enemies in the bottom of a lake with their heads encased in cinderblock. To other informants, he joked of sneaking weapons into the federal court in Richmond, the very courthouse he would eventually stand trial in.

He also joked about torturing and killing FBI agents, prosecutors said during Young's December’s trial.

During the trial, an interview Young gave to the Washington Post briefly raised alarm bells about the integrity of the jury pool.

Young appeared in the newspaper defending his communications with the men he believed were ISIS operatives, claiming law enforcement unfairly entrapped him.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said at one point that the media exposure could be harmful to Young because he appeared in a Nazi uniform in multiple photographs accompanying the interview.

Though his association with Nazism were not necessarily relevant to his case, Brinkema said last December,  she worried it could prejudice jurors.

As the week-long trial continued, Young’s attorneys, Linda Moreno and Nicholas Smith, repeatedly asked jurors to disassociate any of Young’s perceived associations with Nazism and  antisemitism -- expressed in the SS tattoos on his body and in the supremacist propaganda found in his home  - from the terrorism charges he faced.

“The FBI seduced Nicholas Young to commit a crime they created, and tried for six years to find their criminal,” Moreno told the jury in December,  emphasizing Young’s alleged crime was not one of antisemitism .

In addition to the 15-year jail term, Judge Brinkema also sentenced Young to 15 years of supervised release.

Categories / Criminal, Government, National, Politics

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.