A San Diego man admitted in federal court Monday that he lied to the FBI in connection with an international terrorism investigation of his brother, an American believed killed while fighting with Islamic militants in Syria.
Marchello Dsaun McCain, 34, is being held without bail pending his scheduled Dec. 19 sentencing.
“Lying during a terrorism investigation is a very serious crime because the security of our nation and citizens is at stake,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.
On Jan. 23, 2015, the defendant made material false statements to FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force agents about his knowledge of his brother’s travel to Syria and use of a credit card to purchase Douglas McCain’s airline tickets from the United States to Turkey, a transit point for people traveling to Syria, according to a plea agreement.
Marchello McCain admitted to having discussions with his brother about his sibling’s plans to travel to Syria to fight the Bashar al-Assad regime.
Marchello McCain further admitted that he facilitated his brother’s travel by allowing him to use a debit/credit card belonging to Marchello McCain’s wife to purchase airline tickets to Turkey, and that Marchello McCain himself deposited the money for the tickets into his wife’s bank account.
Douglas McCain left the United States on March 9. 2014. About five months later, on Aug. 26. 2014, several media outlets reported that he was killed.
Because Marchello McCain admitted that his false statements and his actions in helping purchase a plane ticket involved international terrorism, the maximum penalty for that offense is increased from five to eight years in prison, prosecutors said.
In January, Marchello McCain, who had previously been convicted of two crimes of violence in Minnesota, pleaded guilty to five counts of possession of firearms and ammunition by a felon and one count of possession of body armor by a felon.
As part of his guilty plea, the defendant admitted that on Feb. 13, 2014, about three weeks prior to his brother’s departure to Syria, Marchello McCain went to a San Diego gun range with his brother and shot firearms, including an AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle and a Mossberg Model 500 12-gauge pump-action shotgun.
—City News Service
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