BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- A Huntsville man charged with attempting to provide support to the terror group ISIS has pleaded guilty in federal court in Birmingham.
Aziz Sayyed, 23, was arrested last June after speaking to an undercover agent about his interest in serving ISIS. Sayyed had obtained chemicals that could be used to make a TATP explosive device, according to prosecutors and Sayyed’s attorney Bruce Gardner.
The judge who took Sayyed’s plea Thursday morning in Birmingham set sentencing for June 20 in Huntsville.
As part of Sayyed’s plea agreement prosecutors recommended he receive a 15-year prison sentence and lifetime monitoring upon his release from prison.
Sayyed is an American citizen and was working and attending Calhoun Community College at the time of his arrest.
Gardner, Sayyed’s attorney, told WHNT News 19 on Wednesday that investigators had gathered ample evidence that Sayyed had been radicalized after watching ISIS propaganda and recruiting videos.
Gardner said the FBI and federal prosecutors laid out the evidence to Gardner and Sayyed during a meeting in mid-February.
Sayyed came to the attention of the FBI after a friend of his informed on him, Gardner said. The FBI’s investigation included audio and videotapes of Sayyed discussing ISIS in approving terms.
Eventually, an undercover agent posing as an ISIS member had a discussion with Sayyed about ISIS and use of an explosive device.
Investigators have said Sayyed had obtained chemicals needed to make a bomb at three different Walmart stores on three different days, using cash.
Sayyed also talked about placing the explosive device at a non-civilian target such as a police station or military site.
WHNT News 19 spoke with a family member of Sayyed who lives in Huntsville. They told us Sayyed was not raised like this and they are very ashamed of his actions. The family member said they had no idea Sayyed was able of committing such a crime. They told us they agree with the punishment, adding that evidence was "crystal clear."
The charge he pleaded guilty to carries a 20-year maximum sentence and up to a $250,000 fine.