Former Va. National Guardsman arrested; accused of plotting U.S. terror attack

STERLING, Va - A former Army National Guardsman was arrested for plotting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Mohammed Bailor Jalloh, 26, of Sterling, Virginia, made his first appearance in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria on Tuesday.

Jalloh is accused of attempting to provide weapons to terrorists plotting an attack in the United States. According to court documents, Jalloh also attempted to provide material support to ISIL by providing money to help people join the terrorist group.

“In March 2016, a now-deceased member of ISIL brokered an introduction between Jalloh and an individual in the United States who actually was an FBI confidential human source (CHS),” a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said. “The ISIL member was actively plotting an attack in the United States and believed the attack would be carried out with the assistance of Jalloh and the CHS.”

According to officials, Jalloh and the CHS met in both April and May 2016.

“During the April meeting, Jalloh told the CHS that he was a former member of the Virginia Army National Guard, but that he had decided to quit after listening to online lectures by Anwar al-Aulaqi, a deceased leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” the spokesperson said. “Jalloh stated that he recently had taken a six-month trip to Africa, where he had met with ISIL members in Nigeria and first began communicating online with the ISIL member who later brokered his introduction to the CHS.”

Jalloh began his service with the Virginia National Guard in April 30, 2009. He held the rank of specialist in the 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command as a combat engineer. He separated from the National Guard in April 2015 with an honorable discharge.

He told the CHS he often thought about conducting an attack and that he knew how to shoot guns, according to the Department of Justice.

“Jalloh praised the gunman who killed five U.S. military members in a terrorist attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in July 2015, and stated that he had been thinking about conducting an attack similar to the November 2009 attack at Ft. Hood, Texas,” the spokesperson said.

In May, Jalloh told the CHS he hoped to plan an attack during Ramadan, which began on June 5 and ended July 5.

Jalloh traveled to North Carolina in June where he tried, and failed, to buy guns.

On July 2, he did purchase and test-fire a Stag Arms assault rifle at a northern Virginia gun dealership,  according to the Department of Justice.

“Unbeknownst to Jalloh, the rifle was rendered inoperable before he left the dealership with the weapon. Jalloh was arrested the following day and the FBI seized the rifle,” the department spokesman said.

If convicted, Jalloh faces 20 years in prison.