SANTA ANA, CALIF.
An Orange County man who admitted that he tried to go to Syria to pledge allegiance to ISIS and train to use weapons was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, according to officials.
Federal Judge James V. Selna sentenced Adam Dandach, 22, of Orange, and also ordered that he be on supervised release for the remainder of his life, officials said.
In sentencing Dandach, Judge Selna said the defendant’s conduct was “serious,” required “significant planning,” and went on for more than a year.
When he pleaded guilty in August 2015, Dandach admitted that, beginning in approximately November 2013 and continuing until July 2, 2014, he tried to travel to Syria to join ISIS.
Prosecutors said Dandach “read materials on achieving martyrdom through jihadi fighting,” communicated with others affiliated with ISIS in Syria to get information about joining the group. He made online posts that celebrated terrorists, prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.
“Mr. Dandach was deliberate in his planning to join the ranks of terrorists bent on killing Americans,” said Deirdre Fike, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “This sentence makes it clear that the government will not tolerate support for terrorism by American citizens.”
According to court documents, on July 1, 2014, Dandach purchased a ticket to fly from Orange County to Istanbul.
The FBI intercepted Dandach at the John Wayne International Airport the following day.
Dandach told FBI special agents that his ultimate destination was Syria and that he intended to pledge allegiance to ISIS’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He explained that he wished to live under the control of ISIS and intended to undergo weapons training, according to officials.
Dandach also admitted that he made a false statement in a passport application, namely that he had lost his previous passport. In fact, a family member had taken Dandach’s passport from him in 2013 when he expressed an interest in traveling to Syria, according to officials.
Dandach “had been planning for over a year to join ISIS, a murderous terrorist organization that he knew committed horrifically violent acts,” according to the government’s sentencing brief.
“He possessed videos of their decapitations and pictures of their atrocities on his cellular telephone. Defendant admitted that ISIS committed these atrocities to instill fear in its enemies. He admitted that he intended to pledge allegiance to the leader of ISIS. And, he admitted that he would do whatever ISIL’s leader asked of him.”
The FBI investigated this case.
(March 15, 2015 ABC TV NEWS LOS ANGELES)