SC teen pleads guilty, convicted for attempting to join ISIS


Zakaryia Abdin, 19 

July 28 2021 05:00 am

SOUTH CAROLINA (FOX 46 WJZY) — A South Carolina teenager pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

The FBI arrested Zakaryia Abdin, 19, of Ladson, South Carolina, at the Charleston International Airport on March 30, 2017 when he attempted to board an airplane in order to travel overseas. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Abdin’s intent was to travel overseas in order to provide material support or resources to ISIS. 

Related: New charges for SC teen who prosecutors say sought to join ISIS

“Abdin’s attempt to provide material support to ISIS by traveling overseas put American lives at risk,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “That is unacceptable, and I applaud the dedicated agents and prosecutors who stopped him and have achieved this successful outcome.”

Abdin began his efforts on Jan. 3, 2017, when he created a social media account to attempt to join ISIS. On Jan. 20, 2017, Abdin visited the FBI in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina to meet with a special agent from the Joint Terrorism Task Force. 

During this interview, the special agent advised Abdin about the FBI’s role in conducting counter terrorism investigations and outlined for him various statutory definitions. 

The special agent also provided the definitions for terrorism and specifically told Abdin that ISIS was a designated foreign terrorist organization and that it was illegal to give any foreign terrorist organization any form of material support, including personnel.

After that date, Abdin began to seek a handler to get him overseas to Syria or Egypt to make contact with ISIS. Unbeknownst to him, he ended up making contact with an undercover FBI employee. Abdin believed this person was affiliated with ISIS. 

Related: York teen on parole rearrested for allegedly plotting to join ISIS, kill Americans 

These communications continued up until he was arrested.

  • On March 23, 2017, Abdin made flight reservations aboard a commercial airline departing Charleston with a final destination of Amman, Jordan. The date for travel was set for March 30, 2017 at approximately 7:30 PM. Shortly thereafter on March 23, 2017, Abdin communicated to the undercover FBI employee that he was scheduled to arrive in Amman, Jordan on April 1, 2017, at approximately 2:05 AM.
  • On March 30, 2017, Abdin arrived at the Charleston International Airport with one piece of luggage and a carry-on backpack. Abdin proceeded to a commercial airline ticket counter where he provided the attendant with travel documents and received a boarding pass for international travel to Amman. Abdin then proceeded from the ticketing counter toward the Transportation Security Administration’s security screening area where he was arrested.           

Abdin, a U.S. citizen, faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. This case was investigated by Special Agents of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. 

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