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Indiana Residents Indicted on Terrorism and Firearms Charges

A federal grand jury has charged brothers Moyad Dannon, 21, and Mahde Dannon, 20, both of Fishers, Indiana, with multiple firearms charges and one count of attempting to provide material support and resources, including firearms, to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B.  Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler for the Southern District of Indiana made the announcement.  The defendants are also charged with various firearms offenses.  The federal indictment was handed down on July 2, 2019.  The defendants have been in federal custody since their arrest on May 15, 2019 pursuant to a federal criminal complaint. 

This indictment is the result of a months-long investigation led by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

As alleged in the last week’s indictment and the previously filed Criminal Complaint, in June 2018, Mahde Dannon, who was awaiting trial on felony theft charges in Lake County, Indiana, hatched a scheme to deliver firearms, including stolen firearms, to a convicted felon who was cooperating with the FBI.  The following month, Mahde Dannon introduced his brother Moyad Dannon to the cooperating individual, and the cooperating individual later introduced the Dannon brothers to an FBI agent who was acting in an undercover capacity. 

Between July 2018 and December 2018, the Dannon brothers sold a number of illegally-obtained firearms to the cooperating individual.  Around the same time period, the Dannon brothers also began to manufacture untraceable “ghost guns” by purchasing unserialized firearms parts online and assembling those parts into fully-functioning, .223 caliber, semi-automatic rifles, which they sold to the FBI undercover agent.

In late 2018, the Dannon brothers approached the cooperating source and FBI undercover agent about manufacturing untraceable, fully-automatic, .223 caliber rifles, using much the same process they used to manufacture the semi-automatic rifles.  In February of 2019, the Dannon brothers built one fully-automatic rifle which they provided to the FBI undercover agent. 

Shortly thereafter, Moyad Dannon accompanied the undercover agent to a location near the U.S. southwest border in an effort to market that rifle, and additional fully-automatic rifles, to a potential buyer.  During that trip, Moyad Dannon learned that the potential buyer sought to ship the fully-automatic weapons to a location in the Middle East, where they would be used by ISIS.  Despite learning of the ultimate destination of the weapons, the Dannon brothers agreed to manufacture at least 55 additional fully automatic “ghost guns” which they believed would be shipped to the Middle East to ISIS and its members. 

In furtherance of that agreement, on May 15, 2019, Mahde and Moyad Dannon manufactured five untraceable, fully-automatic, .223 caliber rifles from parts they had purchased online.  At that time, the Dannon brothers were fully aware that the plan was to send the five automatic rifles overseas to ISIS.  After building the fully-automatic rifles, the Dannon brothers sold all five weapons to undercover FBI agents posing as employees of the buyer from near the southwest border.  Almost immediately thereafter, the Dannon brothers were arrested by the FBI.

Mahde and Moyad Dannon appeared in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis on Thursday, July 11, 2019, to be arraigned on the charges in the indictment.  The Dannons were previously ordered detained, without bond, pending a trial in this matter. 

The Dannon brothers face a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment on each of the firearms charges, and a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment on the attempt to provide material support to ISIS charge.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.  The charges in the indictment are allegations.  The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Rinka, Chief of the National Security Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Trial Attorney Paul Casey of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

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