USA v. Al-Azhari, Muhammad Momtaz
Tampa, FL

Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)

[MDFL] A criminal complaint charged Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari with attempting to provide material support or resources to ISIS. Al-Azhari was an ISIS supporter who planned and attempted to carry out an attack on behalf of that terrorist organization. Al-Azhari, who has a criminal history that includes prior terrorism charges in Saudi Arabia, attempted to purchase multiple firearms over the course of the investigation, before acquiring a Glock pistol and a silencer. He also expressed admiration for Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen and spoke of his desire to carry out a similar mass casualty shooting. Additionally, Al-Azhari researched and scouted potential targets in the Tampa area, including Honeymoon Island. He also rehearsed portions of an attack and the statements that he would make during or in connection with such an attack. In June 2020, Al-Azhari was indicted for attempting to provide material support to ISIS and firearms offenses. In January 2022, it was ruled that Al-Azhari is mentally incompetent to stand trial for now. In February 2023, Al-Azhari pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support or resources to ISIS. Pursuant to the terms of his plea agreement, Al-Azhari and the United States have agreed to the imposition of a stipulated sentence of 18 years in federal prison, and he has also agreed to forfeit certain assets that are traceable to proceeds of the offense, as well as various items of property, including gear involved in, or intended to be used to commit the offense.