A federal raid on a Sterling home Friday as part of a year-long investigation resulted in the arrest of a man suspected of supporting terrorism.
According to court documents, Sean Andrew Duncan was arrested for destroying evidence in the FBI’s investigation of his link to the ISIS terror organization.
When investigators executed a search warrant at Duncan’s townhouse Friday, Duncan ran out the back door carrying a plastic bag with a thumb drive memory chip that was broken into pieces and placed in a liquid, according to the criminal complaint filed against him.
The investigation of Duncan’s conduct began early in 2016 when he and his wife, then Pittsburgh-area residents, were interviewed by the FBI after they were denied entry to Turkey. Also, a relative had alerted the FBI that Duncan had converted to Islam and had become radicalized. This month, investigators found that Duncan created a Twitter account in 2015 based on an Arabic phrase that roughly translated to “The Islamic State.”
Duncan moved to Sterling in June. That month, the Allegheny County (PA) Police Department searched Duncan’s phone as part of an unrelated investigation into the death of his infant child. They found internet searches for ISIS-related material—more than 24,000 positive results after searching a list of common counterterrorism terms and shared that information with the FBI, according to the federal affidavit.
Duncan also had contact with a female foreign detained ISIS supporter who told the FBI that he had expressed interest in joining ISIS and conducting an attack in the United States. Duncan gave the unnamed co-conspirator instructions on how to make homemade bombs and shared news articles from ISIS sources. Duncan also asked her to go to Syria and to be his second wife, according to the affidavit.
Duncan is scheduled to appear for arraignment in federal court Tuesday.
Earlier this year, another Sterling man was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.