Feds seek lengthy sentence for Detroit terror suspect

Mark Hicks

Federal prosecutors want a Detroit man accused of plotting jihad for the Islamic State to spend more than five years behind bars.

In a sentencing memorandum filed Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office requests that a judge order a 60-month prison sentence for Sebastian Gregerson, who has admitted acquiring a fragmentation grenade from an undercover FBI employee. Prosecutors also are seeking a 12-month sentence for illegally buying firearms through a straw buyer.

The sentences are “necessary to reflect the seriousness of the offenses, to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant, and to adequately deter similar conduct,” the attorney’s wrote in the U.S. District Court filing. “The fact that the defendant is an ISIS adherent who approves of ISIS terrorist attacks and views them as legitimate, who considers himself a soldier and the United States, the enemy, who armed himself to the teeth, made statements about desiring to commit violent acts, and assessed other terrorist attacks with a view to increasing fatalities are all facts which justify a significant sentence.”

Gregerson was arrested last year in Monroe after allegedly buying an unregistered destructive device from an undercover FBI agent.

He later was indicted separately in a Virginia federal court and accused of conspiring to illegally purchase firearms through a straw buyer.

The FBI believes Gregerson, who converted to Islam after high school, had been planning violent jihad with a radical former imam and was among a broader-based group of like-minded supporters in Maryland, according to court records and prosecutors.

In court filings, prosecutors assert that Gregerson, also known as Abdurrahman Bin Mikaayla, massed weapons in preparation for an attack in support of the Islamic State.

“Gregerson was far more than a kindred spirit of ISIS. He took extensive steps to carry out a central ISIS directive,” prosecutors wrote. “ISIS has exhorted its followers in Western countries to equip themselves with weaponry, to cache weapons and to otherwise prepare themselves for battle in the ongoing war with their ‘enemies.’ ”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office also pointed out his statements about being a “prisoner of war,” with a desire to commit violent acts, and assessing other terrorist attacks “with a view to increasing fatalities.”

Gregerson accepted a plea deal in the grenade case in March and pleaded guilty to the firearms incident in May, court records show. No sentencing date was indicated in the filing.