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American Held Without Bail for Tweets Pledging Allegiance to Islamic State

A man was arrested at JFK airport after his tweets led prosecutors to suspect him of being a flight risk and danger to the community.
Image by VICE News

An American man was arrested at New York's JFK airport and held without bail on suspicion of involvement or sympathy with the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, earlier this month. Donald Ray Morgan, 44, was detained when he arrived in the US on August 2 from Frankfurt, Germany, reportedly on his way back from an eight-month trip in Lebanon visiting his wife.

Though arrested on firearms charges, Morgan is currently being held without bail because of his Twitter account — under the alias Abu Omar al Amreeki — which professes loyalty to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.


“It was ordered that he remain in custody because it was believed he was a flight risk and a danger to the community,” Zugiel Soto, spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s Office, told VICE News.

Though his Twitter account has since been disabled, a Google cache of an account with the same name shows a Twitter bio which reads: “Mujahid pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Islamic State commanding good and forbidding evil.”

ISIS Has a Really Slick and Sophisticated Media Department. Read more here.

According to Soto, Morgan was arrested on criminal felony charges of possessing firearms for buying and selling, and which are believed to be military-grade weapons.

Following his appearance in the Eastern District Court of New York, Morgan was sent to North Carolina, where he has been charged by a federal grand jury.

Assistant US Attorney Nadia Moore argued in court on Wednesday that “It’s possible that he trafficks in guns to people in this organization (ISIS),” according to the New York Daily News.

Morgan's public defender Peter Kirchheimer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from VICE News.

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Follow Jordan Larson on Twitter: @jalarsonist