A South Carolinian and a Texan were apprehended in federal prison for plotting to lend aid and support to the criminal foreign terrorist organization the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham/Syria, otherwise known shortly as ISIS.

They identified the two men as Kristopher Sean Matthews, also known as Ali Jibreel, 36, of South Carolina, and Jaylyn Christopher Molina, also known as Abdur Rahim, 24, of Cost, Texas. Matthews will serve a maximum sentence of about 240 months or 20 years in prison, and Molina will serve a maximum sentence of 216 months or 18 years in jail – a two-year less than Matthews’ penalty.

They were sent to prison on Friday, July 1, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Kristopher Sean Matthews
Kristopher Sean Matthews [Source: Twitter/@IMCarson1]
According to court papers, Matthews and Molina have been working together since May 2019 to provide services to ISIS. This includes managing an encrypted, members-only chat group for people who support the ISIS ideological position, amassing, producing, and leaking classified pro-ISIS propaganda, and disseminating materials for learning how to use weapons and make bombs.

According to previous findings, court documents revealed that Molina and Matthews had brought up going to Syria to enlist the Islamic State group or carrying out attacks on Trump Tower, the White House, the New York Stock Exchange, or the head offices of federal law enforcement agencies.

Matthews and Molina pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiring to give material assistance to ISIS on November 24, 2020, and January 25, 2021. Molina also committed a criminal act to one count of possessing child pornography, to which he pleaded guilty.

Since being detained by the federal government on September 21, 2020, both Matthews and Molina have stayed under authorities’ detention. Molina received two sentences worth a total of 216 months in prison: one for terrorism and the other for child pornography. Molina was given the green light to serve both terms simultaneously.

Sign of the New York Stock Exchange, Broad Street. (Billie Grace Ward, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)In a press release, US Attorney Ashley C. Hoff said they would closely collaborate with its law enforcement agencies regionally, nationally, and globally to undertake all legal precautions to prevent terrorists from endangering American civilians.

“The United States Attorney’s Office will work closely with our law enforcement partners locally, nationally, and internationally to do everything possible under the law to stop terrorists before they can harm our citizens,” told US Attorney Ashley C. Hoff.

“Matthews and Molina recruited individuals and provided bomb-making instructions to aid ISIS. In this case, along with our law enforcement partners, we successfully stopped Matthews and Molina before anyone was harmed,” the statement added.

According to San Antonio FBI Special Agent in Charge Oliver E. Rich Jr., “This sentencing serves as a reminder that terrorist organizations such as ISIS and their affiliates remain a threat to the United States in the homeland and abroad.”

He also added that the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force partners continue to hold the “highest priority” on attempting to address this menace.

War Flashbacks

The ruins of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a regional branch of al Qaeda established by Abu Musab al Zarqawi in 2004, lend credence to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh. After the influx of American forces into Iraq in 2007 vanished into oblivion for quite a while.

But in 2011, it started to resurface. It used the spiraling out-of-control unrest in Iraq and Syria to start up assaults and significantly enhance its force.

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On August 7, 2014, a coalition led by the United States proceeded with airstrikes targeting ISIS in Iraq. The following month, the operation was also expanded to include Syria. Over the next year, the United States decided to carry out more than 8,000 bombardments in Iraq and Syria under the moniker “Operation Inherent Resolve,” which was given to the campaign on October 15.

Seal of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve. (United States government, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Along Syria’s frontier with Turkey, ISIS suffered significant losses, and by the end of 2015, Iraqi forces had made headway toward retaking Ramadi. However, ISIS made inroads closer to Aleppo in Syria and firmly maintained control of Raqqa and other strongholds.

ISIS grew into a network of affiliates in at least eight additional nations in 2015. Strikes outside the boundaries of its purported “caliphate” were increasingly bombarded by its affiliates, sympathizers, and connections. Roughly 224 people were killed when an ISIS affiliate in Egypt hijacked a Russian aircraft in October. 

A targeted attack in Paris on November 13 culminated in 130 fatalities and over 300 injuries. And in June 2016, an ISIS supporter opened fire in an Orlando, Florida, gay club, resulting in the deaths of at least 49 people.