American ISIS Fighter’s Brother Sentenced For Terrorism-Related Charges

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An Iraqi man rides his bicycle past a billboard bearing the logo of the Islamic State (IS) group in Mosul's eastern district of Mohandessin on January 19, 2017. Iraqi forces battled the last holdout jihadists in east Mosul after commanders declared victory there and set their sights on the city's west, where more tough fighting awaits. Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

ISIS fighter Douglas McCain was the first-known American to die fighting for the Islamic state. Now, attention is being shifted to his brother who was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison for possession of firearms and lying to the federal agents about international terrorism.

Marchello McCain, 35, was living in San Diego with a group of friends that he met as a child, some of whom went on to become radicalized, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. His brother was also living in San Diego, but left in 2014 to fight in Syria.

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Prosecutors accused Marchello McCain of being part of a conspiracy to support international terrorism and that ultimately he intended to go join his brother overseas. He went on to admit that he lied to the FBI about his brother’s reason for travel and where the money came from that funded them.  

“Counterterrorism investigations are the highest priority investigations conducted by FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric S. Birnbaum, said in a statement released by the Department of Justice. “When someone misleads or obstructs counterterrorism investigations, this can adversely affect investigative activity in these important cases. Today's sentence will hold Mr. McCain accountable for his actions and dissuade others from lying to law enforcement agents concerning international terrorism matters.”

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Marchello McCain also told the agents that he owned at least nine firearms, some of which were stolen. Furthermore, he confessed that a few weeks before his brother departed for Syria in early 2014, they went to a shooting range in San Diego to practice handling various firearms, including an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle and a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. His brother ended up dying in the war-torn country just six months afterward.

“ISIS has brought the war on terror closer to home by directing and inspiring attacks in the U.S. and other countries, thereby putting Americans lives in danger,” U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman, said in a statement. “By lying to federal agents, Marchello McCain delayed, frustrated and thwarted an investigation into a group that supplied U.S. and Canadian fighters to ISIS. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to protect American lives here and abroad.”

Prosecutors argued for a harsher sentence for McCain, but settled on 10 years.