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Suspected ISIS supporter in Va. FBI raid indicted for obstructing terrorism investigation

Sean Andrew Duncan, 21, of Sterling, allegedly altered, destroyed, mutilated, concealed and covered up a thumb drive and memory chip with the intent to impede and obstruct an FBI investigation. (Courtroom art by William Hennessy)

A suspected ISIS supporter whose Sterling, Virginia, home was raided by the FBI was indicted Tuesday for obstructing a terrorism investigation.

Sean Andrew Duncan, 21, of Sterling, allegedly altered, destroyed, mutilated, concealed and covered up a thumb drive and memory chip with the intent to impede and obstruct an FBI investigation.

Duncan was arrested on Dec. 29 during an FBI raid of his home. The FBI said it believes Duncan tried to escape through the back door of his condo and keep the thumb drive and memory chip away from the FBI as part of their investigation of him. Prosecutors have not said if they were able to recover any of the information from the damaged devices.

According to the FBI, it had a warrant to search Duncan's home. In February 2016, a family member told the FBI that Duncan had converted to Islam, was possibly radicalized and approved of Westerners being beheaded. The court documents also say that an unnamed co-conspirator said in July that Duncan was interested in joining ISIS, attacking the United States and gave her instructions on making homemade bombs. Overall, the FBI had been investigating Duncan for nearly a year.

Duncan, who is originally from Pittsburgh, was allegedly trying to provide material support for terrorists.

Federal agents said they didn’t originally go to Duncan’s condo to arrest him, but rather just to collect evidence.

The FBI and other law enforcement spent hours raiding his condo in the Chatham Green Condominiums in the 46900 block of Courtyard Square in Sterling. Agents were seen taking boxes and other items from the home on the day of the raid and left around 7:30 p.m. Neighbors told ABC7 they arrived in the afternoon.

Duncan’s wife, who has not been named, doesn’t face any charges and is not in custody.

Neighbors told ABC7's Tom Roussey that at least one man and one woman who they say dressed "Middle Eastern" moved into the home a few months ago. Neighbors said the man would wear a long black robe and had a long beard, while the woman wore a burqa.

Duncan faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for the federal obstruction charge, though actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.

According to ABC7's Richard Reeve, Duncan had what appeared to be a “Blue Lives Matter“ flag, a symbol of support for police officers, on the back of his T-shirt during his first court appearance on Jan. 2, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, in Alexandria.

Court documents also said Duncan had child pornography on a smartphone.


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