ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A Sterling man who tried to join the Islamic State group and talked about carrying out an attack on military members was sentenced to 11 years in prison by a federal judge Friday. He had faced a maximum of 20 years.
Mohamed Jalloh, 27, was arrested in July and pleaded guilty in October to charges of attempting to provide material support to the terrorist group.
While on a trip to Africa, Jalloh wound up on a truck bound for ISIS-controlled territory, but decided to back out before joining the fight. After returning to the U.S., Jalloh was contacted by an ISIS organizer he had worked with in Africa, who put him in touch with a person who turned out to be an FBI informant. Jalloh gave money to the informant and talked about an attack like the one at Fort Hood. He was arrested a day after purchasing an assault rifle.
In arguing for a lesser sentence, defense lawyer Joseph Flood said Jalloh was “coaxed,” “vulnerable” and “gullible” and that his efforts were “halfhearted.”
“Mr. Jalloh is not an initiator, he is an absolute follower,” Flood said. While admitting the FBI informant was “more pushy than I would have preferred” with Jalloh, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Gibbs said Jalloh had been trying to support ISIS for eight months before becoming known to the FBI.
Jalloh addressed the judge before sentencing, saying these events were the most devastating of the many mistakes he’s made in his life. Weeping, he apologized to the court, the people of the United States and members of the military. Jalloh said he was “deeply sorry” and had been in a “really bad place, looking for some purpose, and it really got out of hand.” With regard to ISIS, “I do not want anything to do with them,” he said.
“You took a 90 degree turn and radicalized,” said Judge Liam O’Grady. He told Jalloh that although he expressed remorse over his actions, “you only stopped when you got caught and were arrested.”
Referencing Jalloh’s six years in the National Guard and lack of a violent record, O’Grady said the 11-year sentence reflected “the good things you’ve done as well as the horrendous things.”
Before his arrest, Jalloh was working in security for the firm G4S, the same company Omar Mateen, the gunman in the Orlando nightclub shooting in June, worked for.