Florida Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Uploading Bomb-Making Video

A Florida man who pledged to support ISIS was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday for posting a video he said helped the terror group build bombs, federal authorities said Thursday.

The man, Romeo Xavier Langhorne, 32, of St. Augustine, Florida, pleaded guilty in March 2021 to one count of materially supporting ISIS, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Florida. The sentence, handed down in U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, also included an additional 15 years of probation, the statement said.

Prosecutors said that while in an ISIS online chat room in December 2018 and January 2019, Mr. Langhorne expressed interest in creating a video that would enhance existing videos. on the manufacture and use of a type of deadly explosive.

In February 2019, Mr. Langhorne “began communicating” with an undercover FBI agent posing as an Islamic State representative, prosecutors said. He informed the agent of his intention to make the video and asked for help creating it, they said.

Mr Langhorne told the officer the video should include disclaimers stating it was for educational purposes so it would not be removed by internet service providers, prosecutors said, but that its real purpose was to arm ISIS supporters and others with knowledge of how to make the explosive.

The FBI produced the video – which included the use of a chemically inactive formula that would not produce an explosion – and Mr Langhorne uploaded it to a video-sharing website, prosecutors said. He was arrested in November 2019 in Roanoke, Virginia, where he was living at the time.

A lawyer for Mr Langhorne, John Leombruno, declined to comment on Friday evening. In a sentencing brief filed June 27, Mr Leombruno described his client as socially awkward and said he had various untreated mental health issues, including schizophrenia. Mr Langhorne took to the internet to seek confirmation and acceptance, his lawyer said.

Mr Leombruno said his client had been targeted by the government because of his “provocative comments and discussions on various social media platforms regarding the religion of Islam”.

“Acting as an undercover agent, they engaged in conversations with Mr. Langhorne and instigated the production of a video that would instruct individuals on how to make” the explosive in question, Mr. Leombruno wrote. .

“To ensure that a prosecution against the accused would take place, the government produced the video in question,” he continued, adding that the officer had “returned to Mr. Langhorne when the interactions and conversations between them have cooled”.

Authorities said Langhorne came to the attention of law enforcement in 2014 when he posted statements and images supporting ISIS on his Facebook account, according to a criminal complaint filed in 2014. November 2019.

The complaint said that since then, Mr Langhorne had posted numerous other statements on social media demonstrating “ideological support” for the group, including a speech by Anwar Al-Awlaki, a US citizen believed to be a terrorist who was killed in a drone in september 2011. strike in yemen.

Sherri E. Onks, an FBI agent in Jacksonville, said in the statement that the threat posed by Mr. Langhorne was “still very real” and that authorities cut short his plan early, averting a threat.

“We remain more vigilant than ever in our efforts to protect the public from others who support terrorist organizations,” she said.

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