FBI raids home of Pittsburgh man suspected of supporting Islamic State

By Ray Downs  |  Dec. 31, 2017 at 11:10 PM
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Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The FBI on Friday raided the home of a Pittsburgh man suspected of supporting the Islamic State.

Sean Andrew Duncan was arrested for destroying evidence and obstructing an FBI investigation, according to a criminal complaint obtained by WJLA-TV. The incident occurred after FBI agents raided Duncan's home in Sterling, Penn.

"Moments before the FBI agents entered the residence through the front door, Duncan ran out the back door, barefoot, and with something clenched in his fist," the complaint states. "FBI agents guarding the back door yelled at Duncan to stop. Before stopping, Duncan threw a plastic baggie over the heads of the agents...The baggie was a clear, plastic Ziploc bag, containing a memory chip stored within a thumb drive that had been snapped into pieces and placed in a liquid substance that produced frothy white bubbles."

Duncan, a convert to Islam, had been on the FBI radar since at least February 2016 when a relative reported him to the FBI for allegedly voicing his approval of Islamic militants beheading westerners in the Middle East and planning a trip to Turkey with the intention of the Islamic State.

Duncan and his wife, who was not named in the criminal complaint, did travel to Turkey in February but were immediately deported back to the United States. When Duncan returned home, he deleted his Facebook account and changed his phone number.

Duncan also had a long correspondence with an "unnamed co-conspirator," primarily over encrypted text messages, with a female Islamic State supporter in the United States. According to the complaint, the conspirator expressed her dissatisfaction with female work colleagues wearing short dresses and Duncan sent her an article entitled, "How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom" from Inspire, an al-Qaida magazine.

The pair also reportedly told each other they support the Islamic State and discussed the possibility of traveling to Syria to join the terrorist organization.

FBI agents also searched Duncan's phone and found searches for body armor, military-style combat gear and other weapon-related terms.

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