Ex-Con ISIS Supporter Casey Spain Pleads Guilty to Firearms Offense – In a Rush to Return to Prison
RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond man, who is a previously convicted felon and supporter of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), pleaded guilty Nov. 3, 2017, to acquire a firearm only three weeks after he was released from state prison.
According to court documents, Casey Charles Spain, 28, was in prison for over seven years after being convicted in 2010 for abduction with intent to defile. While in prison, Spain became radicalized and expressed a desire to engage in acts of violence. Additionally, the FBI received information that Spain swore a pledge of loyalty, commonly known as bayat, to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. Spain also obtained a tattoo of the ISIS flag on his back.
After Spain was released from the Virginia Department of Corrections on August 11, he took up residence in the Richmond area. Due to his activity while in prison, the FBI began conducting surveillance of Spain immediately upon his release, including making covert contact with Spain with FBI undercover employees (UCE), as well as the use of a Confidential Human Source (CHS). Spain spoke on multiple occasions to the CHS about his strong desire to obtain a handgun. On August 30, the CHS and a UCE met with Spain, and Spain described to the CHS his intention to purchase a semi-automatic handgun with a 50-round barrel canister, and that he had made arrangements to buy the handgun from an individual online. Given Spain’s criminal history, his desire to obtain a firearm, and the impatience he exhibited about obtaining one, the CHS—as part of a controlled FBI undercover operation—offered to provide Spain with what the CHS described as his own personal weapon. In reality, the firearm, which was a 9mm Glock semi-automatic handgun, was the property of the FBI that had been rendered inert for safety reasons.
On August 31, as part of the undercover operation, the CHS and UCE met Spain outside of his residence. The CHS provided Spain the above-described firearm, at which point members of the FBI Richmond SWAT team moved in to arrest Spain. Spain initially attempted to flee and escape arrest by running and jumping a nearby fence, but FBI SWAT members pursued Spain on foot and quickly apprehended him, and also recovered a mobile phone discarded by Spain during the chase and the above-described firearm.
Spain pleaded guilty to being a being a felon in possession of a firearm and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on Feb. 12, 2018. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Hood and Trial Attorney Raj Parekh of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case.