Courts & Crime

North Carolina man pleads guilty to supporting terrorism charge

A North Carolina man who reportedly tried to aid the Islamic State pleaded guilty Thursday to terrorism-related charges.

Donald Ray Morgan, a 44-year-old resident of Rowan County, N.C., pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and to possession of a firearm by a felon.

Morgan was initially arrested on Aug. 2, 2014, at JFK International Airport in New York City.

Ripley Rand, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, called the case “a sad reminder that those who wish to aid foreign terrorist organizations can come from any community and from any background.”

According to court documents cited in a Justice Department release, Morgan “knowingly attempted to provide support and resources beginning in January 2014 until on or about Aug. 2, 2014, including his own services, to al-Qa’ida in Iraq, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).”

Morgan kept up a steady stream of rhetorical support for radical Islam via social media, according to prosecutors.

“Ya Allah!” Morgan Tweeted in May, according to court documents. “Bring strength, courage and victory to our brothers fighting & sacrificing to establish Islamic state.”

A month later, court documents show, Morgan Tweeted a message that began “ISIS is worldwide. We are already in your city.”

“Today’s plea represents our continued commitment to confronting those who attempt to travel abroad to support terrorist organizations,” Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said in a statement.

Morgan had previously been convicted of a weapons offense in 1997. Sentencing will be in February; Morgan faces a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine.